ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida schools must reopen their buildings when classes resume in August, but what that will look like in each school district is still mostly unknown.
The Florida Department of Education made the announcement Monday that all schools must open their brick-and-mortar buildings when classes resume in the fall.
Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, Lake, Flagler and Marion county students are all scheduled to return to classes Aug. 10. Brevard County students are set to return the next day on Aug. 11, and Volusia County students are set to return last on Aug. 17.
Channel 9 complied information from school districts across Central Florida about their plans. Read the latest below.
Parents will get three back-to-school options, and students will have follow new rules involving social distancing and face coverings.
Superintendent Barbara Jenkins presented a 90-page presentation laying out the options for families.
The board first met with Dr. Raul Pino, from the county health department, before discussing the back-to-school plan.
“If the question is, ‘Is it safe to open schools the way we were opened before we close?’ No. Procedures and guidance has to change,” Pino said.
The three options available to families are:
— Face-to-face, in-classroom learning.
— Full-time virtual school with Orange County Virtual School.
— LaunchED digital learning program, which will be an option for families who want to stay connected to the school but don't feel comfortable sending them back into the classroom just yet.
The proposal presented Tuesday is not finalized, and the third option still needs state approval per the guidance from the state's emergency order.
"I prefer to say we are building a bicycle as we are riding it. It can be painful. You can certainly have a few scrapes, bruises, hopefully not a concussion, but it is certainly not as dangerous as building an airplane as you're flying it," Jenkins said.
The district will officially approve the plan next Tuesday at its school board meeting.
The School Board of Seminole County will hold two meetings on Tuesday, July 14 to discuss the county’s reopening plan. The Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. for a reopening work session and at 5:30 p.m. for a special school board meeting. Click here for links and information on how to tune in.
The Volusia County School Board will hold a special virtual meeting on Wednesday, July 15 at 3:30 p.m. The public can click here to listen in on the meeting. For public comment during the meeting, please call 386-734-7190 ext. 20236. The district said the purpose of the special virtual meeting is to review the reopening plan for the upcoming school year and to discuss the CARES Act funding.
Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Mullins said the district’s reopening plan is set to be announced on July 14. He said the district’s reopening task force is working to put the finishing touches on a plan to return students and staff back to school safely in August. He said more than 11,000 parents, teachers, staff and community members provided feedback through the Task Force web page.
“Their insights, ideas and concerns shared have been reviewed and taken into consideration throughout the development of the plan,” Mullins said in an email update.
Marion County Public Schools is offering two options for returning to school full time in August: traditional face-to-face in a classroom or virtual school with MCPSonline.
Families are asked to choose between the two by July 15. Click here for more information.
In preparation for students’ return to school in the fall, Lake County Schools is offering multiple options:
- traditional in-school learning,
- full-time online learning through Lake County Virtual School, and
- modified-day learning, a combination of the two.
The district has launched a new website to explain the differences. Parents are asked to visit the site and by Monday, July 13, indicate on a form which option they prefer. The selection of an option does not lock a parent into a decision, but it gives the district information for planning. A link to the form is available on the website.
Masks, temperature checks for athletes and social distancing will all be part of the Flagler County Schools plan to return to the classroom next month.
The district unveiled its plan this week.
The plan includes encouraging middle and high school students to wear masks when they cannot socially distance, one-way traffic in hallways and requiring anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 not to return to the classroom or work until they are cleared by a doctor.
Osceola County Public Schools will host a School Board meeting to discuss reopening plans on Tuesday, July 14. The meeting will be held in-person as well as streamed online and public comment will be taken.
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