ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools announced the district will start virtual learning for every student on Aug. 10.
The district will have designated distance learning days from Aug. 10-21.
Students who registered for face-to-face or the LaunchED@Home model will take part in the designated distance learning days.
This will include typical exercises that occur at the beginning of each school year, according to the district.
School officials said the nine days will provide a chance for all faculty and students to become comfortable with the LaunchED platform.
The district wants students to know this platform because it will be the default platform if a classroom or school needs to do at-home learning during the pandemic.
This time period will also allow teachers to address any questions parents or students may have with the program.
This announcement means the school calendar starts on Aug. 10 and teacher preplanning will begin on July 31.
Aug. 21 will be the first day for students who registered for face-to-face instruction to attend class on campus.
Students who registered for Orange County Virtual School are not impacted by this decision and will begin on Aug. 10.
Payroll calendars have not been altered, according to the district.
President of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association Wendy Doromal said she is happy the district is following the original calendar.
By doing so, Doromal said teachers will not receive a paycheck late.
She likes the idea of all students starting the year virtually.
“I think it’s wise to start virtually because we are the epicenter of a pandemic,” she said.
The district will now be in contact with families in need of devices and hotspots.
OCPS parent Toni Thompson said the announcement was kind of a gut punch.
“Today came as a shock especially since they gave parents until today to give their choice,” Thompson said.
Soren Richardson said the district is in limbo at the moment of what is going to happen when school opens.
“If this virtual LaunchEd doesn’t work, we’ll probably have to homeschool,” Richardson said.