ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Thousands of Orange County students will be the first to return to school in Central Florida on Monday during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All 212,000 students will start the new year learning online through the district's "LaunchED@Home" digital learning program before transitioning to the learning option they chose on August 21.
To prepare for digital learning, the school district made enhancements to Canvas, the learning platform, and inside classrooms, including a camera to show documents virtually, a microphone to convert audio digitally, and adding more bandwidth to the district's servers.
Maurice Draggon, the district's director of digital learning, said the increased capacity will help as thousands of students log on to learn.
"We've done our best to prepare for students and the load that will come from launched at home," Draggon said.
Many students and families struggled with distance learning in the spring. Draggon said that is because many were logging on at the same time.
He said with LaunchED, students are on a bell schedule so there will log on at staggered times.
Elementary school starts around 8:30 a.m., middle school starts around 9:30 a.m., and high school starts around 7:20 a.m.
The district hopes this time the process will be smoother.
"There are things not in our control obviously, but we've done our best to prepare for students and the load that will come from launched at home," Draggon said.
OCPS said LaunchED follows the standard school hours. The lessons are live-streamed, which allows students to interact with their teachers and classmates.
District officials said they know this isn't the typical start to the school year and they are asking for your patience.
“While the beginning of school for us looks much different than it has in the past, and in the past, it’s usually very smooth, we know that this may be a little choppy and a little rough,” OCPS spokesperson Scott Howat said.
Here’s what to expect on the first day of LaunchED
For kindergarten & first grade students
- Students will use their district-issued iPad to launch the Canvas student app
- Log in to Canvas. Students will need to click "Find my school" and enter "Orange County Public Schools-FL"
- From the launchpad screen, enter your student ID and password. The password is the student’s birth year, month, and day
- Once on the Canvas dashboard, you will see the icon for your child's teacher. Click on the class and the button that says live lessons
Click or tap here to watch a video from OCPS explaining the first day of LaunchED for kindergarten and first-grade students.
For second grade thru 12th-grade students
- Turn on your device and log in using your student number and password. Elementary students use their birthday. Middle and high school students set up their own password. Visit StudentID.ocps.net if you have any problems.
- Use Google Chrome, which is the preferred browser
- Got to launchpad by visiting launch.ocps.net. Login in again using your username and password. Look for the Canvas icon and click on it
- All of the student's classes are listed on the Canvas dashboard. Middle and high school courses are listed separately. Elementary students have one icon listed for their teacher
- Click on the class to enter the teacher's lesson
- Middle and high school students go back to the Canvas dashboard at the end of each class period to join their next class
Click or tap here to watch a video from OCPS explaining the first day of LaunchED for second grade through 12th-grade students.
If you run into problems, the district suggests you try restarting your device, contacting your internet service provider to make sure the connection is working, and to let your child's school know you are having issues.
You can find more information at digital.OCPS.net.
Parents of Central Florida students can find everything they need to know about their district’s back-to-school plan at ClickOrlando.com/backtoschool.