7 things Seminole County parents want to know about sending students back to school

Seminole County Schools holding live Q&A sessions

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County Schools is hosting a series of live Q&A sessions for parents regarding reopening schools.

Parents in Seminole County have until Friday at noon to make their decision of what option learning option they’d like to enroll their child in for the upcoming academic year.

The choices are face-to-face, Seminole Connect, Seminole County Virtual Schools or a hybrid half-day option.

Parents will need to decide which course of action they plan to take by Friday or their child will be automatically placed in a physical classroom.

Tuesday was the first of three live Q&A sessions designated for parents of elementary schools. The school district also posted a list of FAQs online Monday night.

These were some of the more commonly asked questions answered today:

Are elementary school students required to wear masks at all times?

“Yes, all students are required to wear masks on the bus, in the hallway, during transition time,” said Marian Cummings, executive director of elementary education. “Students will not be required to wear a mask when they are having lunch or PE or recess.”

The school will also not require K-5 students to wear masks once they are seated at their desks, according to the school’s website.

Will there be social distancing in the cafeteria?

“Each school is unique at how our cafeterias are designed,” said Robert Navarro, principal of Highlands Elementary School. “I can use Highlands as an example, we just worked on it this morning. We have changed it to only one grade level comes in at a time. They will be separated and all facing one direction so we can minimize student risk.”

What about cleaning protocols?

“In the elementary schools, teachers will have a select number of desk shields to use,” Cummings said. “The facility teams has worked on new procedures and cleaning after the kids after transitioning. We always do it after lunch period, but they will double down on that this year. At the end of the day, touchpoints will be disinfected.”

Can you clarify the difference between Seminole County Virtual School and Seminole Connect?

“If you enroll in Seminole County Virtual School, you are committing to a semester,” said Robin Dehlinger, executive director of elementary education. “With Seminole Connect, the commitment is for nine weeks.”

“In Seminole Connect, they will be using teachers from their schools. The goal is for their students to work with a teacher from their school,” Cummings said. “So if they chose to come back at the end of the nine weeks, they will be assigned to that teacher.”

If a student is in Seminole Connect, are they required to sit in front of a computer screen for seven hours a day?

“There are many opportunities for people to have breaks like recesses and lunch,” Navarro said. “There will be opportunities where they ask the student to log off work remotely and then other times to come back in and work in small groups.”

If I chose Seminole Connect or SCVS, will my child be able to ask questions online and participate with classmates?

“Virtual school students will only interact with their teacher,” Cummings said. “It’s very different from Seminole Connect. In Seminole Connect, they will work with the teacher and often with another peer in the class.”

In Seminole Connect, will teachers be teaching with a webcam as well as face-to-face at the same time?

”The ideal situation for any of our schools is that we have enough students we can assign them to one teacher for Seminole Connect and they will work with that teacher,” Navarro said. “If it doesn’t, it is possible you can have a class on campus that could be both.”

For more information about Seminole County’s back-to-school plan, click here.

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