ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Some Central Florida school districts have voted to delay the start of the 2020-2021 school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Below is what each county has presented so far.
Orange County School Board members have made some changes to the start of the school year. Now, all students will begin on Aug. 10 and will start off learning virtually. On Aug. 21, those who chose face-to-face instruction must report to campus.
Orange County administrators have presented the school board with three tracks for the upcoming school year. They include:
- OCPSLaunchED@Home: Full-time school that is live-streamed. A camera set up in the classroom would follow the teacher so kids at home would feel like they were there. This idea needs to be approved by the state.
- Orange County Virtual School: This option is also available for parents and guardians who want to keep their kids at home.
- Face-to-Face Instruction: Students would attend school in person. Orange County officials said they would require masks when social distancing isn’t possible and move desks further apart. They are also looking into adding partitions at desks.
Surveys were sent out to parents regarding these options and only 37 percent of parents and guardians said that they want their kids to return in person. However, this survey was sent out before the recent surge in cases, so residents may poll differently now.
They are also submitting plans to the state to use LaunchEd, an on-campus, online learning option. In addition, the board is also seeking a waiver allowing them to not reopen if it's not safe.
Due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, Orange County Public Schools has decided to postpone the start of the fall sports season. Read more here.
The Seminole County School Board approved four options for returning to school this fall and has agreed to delay the start of the school year to Aug. 17.
The four learning choices are:
- Face-to-Face: Learning in a classroom for 5-days-a-week traditional schooling.
- Seminole Connect: At-home learning aligned to the SCPS Instructional Plans/Frameworks and Florida State Standards.
- Seminole County Virtual School (SCVS): A fully accredited K-12 public school created and supervised by SCPS and taught by SCPS teachers. Students remain at home and work on their own schedules.
- Hybrid: A combination of Face-to-Face, Seminole Connect, and Seminole County Virtual School courses depending on grade-level.
The Osceola County School District is giving families three choices for going back to school in the fall. They are:
- In-Person Learning: The district says parents and guardians can choose face-to-face learning, but there will be many new procedures in place. That includes everything from temperature screenings to mask requirements on the school bus and places inside the school where social distancing isn’t possible.
- Digital Learning at School: Option two is digital learning at the child’s assigned school, where teachers will have live-lessons for five to six hours a day.
- Osceola Virtual School: Virtual learning via the Osceola Virtual School.
School officials decided to delay the start date of the school year to Aug. 24. Schools were supposed to reopen on Aug.10. The new academic calendar can be found at www.osceolaschools.net.
Volusia County parents can now choose from three options:
- Traditional Classroom Setting: Students will be in school five days a week, as directed by the Florida Department of Education, with health and safety guidelines in place.
- Volusia Live (real-time live streaming): Students will remain at home but follow the same daily class schedule as their classmates who are in traditional school. Students will participate in classroom instruction by logging in on a device, and engaging with their teacher and classmates virtually, by using platforms such as Zoom or Teams (real-time live streaming). Attendance will be taken.
- Enhanced Volusia Online Learning: A learn at-your-own pace, virtual option where Volusia County teachers provide instruction in flexible formats. There is not a set schedule. Enrollment ends July 31.
The Volusia County School Board has voted to delay the start of school until Aug. 31.
The Brevard County School Board has voted to push back the start of the school year to Aug. 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic. They had previously discussed starting schools on August 17. The original start date was August 11.
Brevard Public Schools presented and approved several options for the reopening of schools in the fall. They include:
- Full-Time In-Person Schooling: Students will learn on campus. Secondary students, in particular, will enroll in four 90 minute classes per semester to decrease exposure, with an additional class for remediation or acceleration.
- Full-Time Brevard Virtual School: Students will learn from home through the Brevard Virtual School.
- Half In-Person, Half Brevard Virtual School: A mix of the in-person schooling and learning from home through the Brevard Virtual School.
- Full-Time eLearning (elementary students only): Students will undergo nine-week increments of eLearning instruction, which teachers will give from the school site. Students will be expected to complete progress monitoring diagnostics in a secure location three times a year.
- Full or Part-Time Dual Enrollment (secondary students only): Secondary students have the option to enroll in full or part-time dual enrollment courses.
Enhanced safety protocols will be in place, like health screenings. The school district said masks will not be required, but they will be encouraged for students. Brevard School Board has voted to start school on August 24.
Flagler County Public Schools plans to open schools in the fall with traditional bell schedules and school calendars in-person.
Several new safety protocols will be in place to decrease the possible spread of COVID-19. This includes health screenings, strong encouragement of masks, one-way hallway traffic, increased cleaning of high-traffic areas, and frequently available hand sanitizer and handwashing options.
They said that if conditions require campus closure, the school learning plan will change.
The Lake County School Board has unanimously approved the district's reopening plan. The plan includes updated safety protocols, a revised scheduling template for middle and high schools, a new instructional option for students, and a later start date, according to a press release.
Lake County public schools will reopen on Aug. 24, two weeks later than the Aug. 10 date originally set by the board. Families are being given four choices for when students return to school in the fall. They are:
- Traditional: School buildings will open five days a week, offering a traditional instructional plan to students who choose that option. Middle and high schools will operate on a modified block schedule, lowering class sizes and requiring fewer class transitions for students in an effort to minimize their risk of potential exposure to the virus.
- Full-time online (new option): Daily instruction from teachers at the students' home school or a school in their geographic region, when possible. Students would not be required to withdraw from their brick-and-mortar school to pursue this option
- Lake County Virtual School: Lake Virtual is a Lake County School with teachers, counselors, and administrators that have one goal in mind: the success of all LCS students! Students that select this option will be taking all of their courses online
- Modified Day: The Modified Day will include instruction for Language Arts and Math in a traditional setting, with all other courses (such as Social Studies, Science, Electives, etc.) being held virtually. Students will be assigned either a morning or afternoon session for the traditional instruction. Mid-day transportation (coming to school or leaving) will be the responsibility of the parent.
District leaders say that 58-percent of parents and students that responded to a survey last month say they feel comfortable returning to school campuses in the fall with safety protocols in place, but others had some reservations.
Marion County School District has presented two options for returning to school:
- Traditional In-Person Learning: Students will return to campus and attend a full school day throughout the week, with standard bell times and schedules.
- Online Learning: Students can attend school remotely, following the standard school schedule and bell times, if they are not comfortable going back in-person.
Enhanced health and safety protocols will reportedly be in place.
Alachua County Public Schools has developed a draft plan for the reopening of schools in the fall. It includes several learning options, including:
- In-Person Instruction: Students will return to campus with enhanced safety protocols in place to prevent significant spread.
- Digital Academy: Students would receive live instruction at home from their assigned teachers. They will follow their typical school schedule.
- Alachua eSchool: Students would receive virtual instruction form eSchool teachers, allowing for more flexibility in terms of a schedule.
The Florida Department of Education is ordering districts to reopen all brick and mortar schools five days a week and offer full services starting in August.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been very vocal about wanting state schools to reopen as soon as possible.
"I want our kids to be able to minimize this education gap that I think has developed," DeSantis said during a press conference. "In spite of good efforts with online learning, it's just not the same, so I worry about that gap."
The governor pointed out social distancing measures put in place by retailers and restaurants that are already open. Gov. DeSantis said he believes if it is working for them, preventative social distancing measures can also work in schools.
"If you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools," DeSantis said.
Watch FOX 35 News for the latest on Florida school reopenings.