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Florida students won’t return to school until at least mid-April, governor says

No statewide tests, school/district grades released this year, officials say

Florida public school students across the state won’t be returning to their school campuses until at least April 15 and should be prepared to extend the school year well into the summer, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran informed Florida Superintendents Tuesday of several changes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

All public and private K-12, career and technical center campuses are closed through April 15, according to the DOE. After that, the date for students to return will be re-evaluated every two weeks.

According to the Department of Education, schools and educators should be prepared to extend the school year to June 30 and the commissioner may reduce required instructional hours as necessary to accommodate for closures.

“The containment of COVID-19 is essential, and this is not a decision we made lightly. Districts have taken action and have instituted distance learning as a necessary precaution to protect students, educators, families, and Florida’s overall public health,” Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said in a statement. “We are working with our local school districts to provide guidance and help children who need access food during this time. Our number one priority is keeping our families safe and healthy and stopping the spread of this virus. These actions will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Florida. I will continue to work with the Governor, Superintendents, Florida College System and the State University System to do whatever we can to protect our children, our families, and our communities.”

It’s unclear when virtual learning will be attempted.

In a post from the Sumter County School District Monday, officials said Sumter County schools would be providing packets for elementary students to complete at home. Parents were asked to picked the packets up from their student’s school this week.

“Sumter County Schools will be providing work at home packets that will help to maintain your Kindergarten through 5th grade students assignments," the post read. “Please plan to come by your child’s school to pick up their work packets during the scheduled times, Wednesday, March 18th or Thursday, March 19th from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm.”

Distance learning in Sumter County begins on March 23.

Marion County Public Schools said they can service a limited number of students through virtual classrooms, not all of the 43,000 students have reliable internet service at home. Marion Schools said not all of the students have mobile devices they can use.

Because of these changes, all statewide assessments have been canceled this school year.

In addition, Florida schools will not receive their individual grades from the state for the 2019-2020 school year. Students will still receive their grades.

Earlier on Tuesday, Florida’s state university system Board of Governors instructed state universities to move all courses to online-learning only for the rest of the spring semester.

Lake County schools said parents who do not have a computer in the household that their children can use for online learning are asked to complete this survey.

The survey will help the district coordinate the distribution of Chromebooks.

“All district and school administrators should report to their normal work location/school on Monday, March 23, 2020, to begin preparing for their students’ instructional continuity plans, unless they are exhibiting symptoms, are quarantined or have been exposed to someone with the COVID-19 virus. All employees are asked to practice social distancing and healthy habits,” Osceola Schools said in a statement.

Osceola Schools said the earliest students may return to class is on April 15.

Orange County schools said all 10 and 12-month employees should report to their assigned work locations on March 23. Staff will use the week to prepare for distance learning.

All Orange County school meetings will be with 10 or fewer people. Distance learning will begin for students on March 30.

Flagler County schools will be closed until April 15.

At home learning for Volusia County will begin March 30.

Brevard Schools said the district will be implementing its instructional continuity plan for students starting on March 30. More details for Brevard County will be released later.

Students will not return to campus to Seminole County Schools until April 15. More details will be released at a later date.

Students will not return to Polk County school campuses until April 15. More details will be released at a later date.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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