Orange County parents ‘blindsided’ by district’s decision to move up school start date

Video: Orange County parents 'blindsided' by district's decision to move up school start date

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County parents said they were blindsided by the district’s decision to move the new first day of school earlier.

Public schools in Orange County will now open Aug. 10, and all kids will be learning virtually, but the first nine days are not mandatory.

Orange County Public Schools said the change means kids and teachers will have time to get used to Launch Ed@Home, if they have to use it later. But the decision also makes financial sense.

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“Once again we’re seeing last minute decisions and the parents are blindsided,” said Orange County parent Iiara Diaz.

Parents knew Aug. 21 was a tentative date, but most thought the date might be moved later, not earlier.

The district needs to start on Aug. 10 to pay teachers on time, but said it would be too expensive to pay them and have kids start on Aug. 21.

It was first discussed during a work session last week. Then on Monday, the Florida Department of Education gave the thumbs-up to have all kids start with distance learning.

Face-to-face instruction also has to start next month.

The district wants to use local COVID-19 data to decide

if brick and mortar schools reopen, but needs state approval or it could forfeit much needed funds.