Here’s how Central Florida schools plan to tackle distance learning during the coronavirus outbreak

Governor: Florida students won’t return to school until at least May 1

This Feb 27, 2020, photo released by Louis Wang, shows his work desk with laptop and textbooks at home in northeast China. Wang, a middle school history teacher in northeast China, said his workload has ballooned due to the arduous process through which online classes must be approved. Chinese schools turning to online learning during a virus outbreak are running into the country's ubiquitous and often arbitrary internet censorship. (Louis Wang via AP) (Uncredited, Louis Wang)

ORLANDO, Fla. – As the number of coronavirus cases in the Sunshine State continues to grow, state officials have ordered all Florida school districts to practice distance learning until students can return to school.

Earlier this month and in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said students would not return to school until at least May 1.

“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,” Corcoran said.

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Since the announcement, Central Florida school district officials have worked to come up with plans that work best for their teachers and students to tackle learning from outside the classroom.

Here’s how each Central Florida school district plans to handle it:

Orange County

Teacher-facilitated distance learning for PreK-12 students will begin March, according to Orange County Public School’s website. County officials say your student’s teacher will communicate the specifics.

Prior to March 30, the county is offering online educational activities for students to work on over the break and get acclimated to the remote learning style. Click here to access them.

The county is also offering offline options for some students and other options to those without internet access at home. Click here for more information.

Seminole County

Distance learning begins March 30 for students in Seminole County, according to the school district’s website. Windows computers, Chromebooks and Apple devices should all be compatible with SPCS’ curriculum. Students in need of a device may be able to check out a laptop from the county through Friday, while supplies last. Free WiFi is also being offered to families without an internet connection at home. Click here for more information and all other updates from Seminole County Public Schools.

Osceola County

The Osceola County school district will also transition to digital learning the week of March 30, according to its website. All online learning resources will be available through the county’s ClassLink platform -- which students are already familiar with -- using the student’s ID number. Students who do not know their ID number should call the district’s Digital Learning Hotline at 407-870-4037.

Elementary and middle school students who don’t have access to a digital device will be given paper packets, which will be available in their school’s front office starting March 30. Completed packets will be returned when school reopens, according to the district.

Click here for information about internet connectivity and to see what other resources are available to students and families.

Brevard County

Remote learning will begin March 30 in Brevard County. According to Superintendent Mark Mullins, each school’s principal will provide specifics on how students will learn from outside the classroom. Mullins said in this video that principals are prepared to meet families’ varying levels of need to provide curriculum to students.

Mullins said your child’s school should be your first point of contact during the distance learning period. Click here to visit the county’s website.

Volusia County

Virtual learning will begin March 30 for students in Volusia County, according to the school district. The week before remote learning begins, a limited number of iPads and laptops will be distributed to students who do not have access to the proper technology at home. Click here for checkout details.

Internet connection and paper packets will also be made available to students as needed. Get more information on those resources and everything else you need to know about the district’s plan here.

Flagler County

Teachers will be contacting students with their login details and other information needed to participate in distance learning on March 30, according to Flagler County school district officials.

According to the district’s website, most relatively new devices with an internet connection will suffice during the online learning period. Click here for a list of ways to prepare your device for distance learning.

Anyone who needs to pick up a device for their student or has virtual learning-related questions should fill out this form.

Marion County

At last check, Marion County school officials said they were working on their distance learning plan and online platforms to make them available to students next week.

On the district’s website, officials said, in part:

“Not all 43,000 MCPS students have reliable Internet service at home, nor do they all have devices to use. The district is investigating options to make devices and mobile “hot spot” services available to students in underserved-Internet areas of Marion County. More details on these plans will be announced when finalized.”

Click here for updates regarding Marion County’s distance learning plan.

Polk County

Online learning is set to begin March 30 in Polk County. Prior to that date, Polk County Public School officials are deploying 60,000 devices to students to help facilitate remote instruction, according to the school district’s website.

District officials have asked teachers to contact Polk County students with specifics. In the meantime, click here for details from the school district regarding their online learning plan.

Sumter County

Due to the county’s early spring break, the Sumter County School District began distance learning on March 23. Click here for details on their plan and the phone number to reach their technical support hotline.

Lake County

Distance learning begins March 30 for Lake County students. Here is a link to the county’s complete distance learning plan.

The district has issued a form for parents to complete regarding their student’s need for devices. Parents of students who need a device to participate in remote learning are asked to complete the form this week. Click here to access the form.

Florida schools are also offering free meals to students during the extended coronavirus closures, with more than 930 locations set up across the state. Click here to find a pickup location near you.

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