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‘Are my kids going to fall behind?’ Parents frustrated with Florida Virtual School delays

Florida Virtual School is ' experiencing higher than usual enrollment volume'

Parents across Florida are printing out free math worksheets and creating their own science lessons in the backyard out of fear their children may fall behind because education through Florida Virtual School has not yet started.

Florida Virtual School was an additional option for many parents amid the coronavirus pandemic who wanted the flexibility of their own learning schedule for their child, run by the state and not the student’s individual school district.

However, Deltona mom Natasha Burgos was not expecting to have so little communication, two weeks after her asthmatic 2nd grader was supposed to start school.

“I tried calling several times, I did get an answer last week stating he was supposed to start Tuesday,” she said. “Nothing has been done. So this is two weeks from the date he was supposed to start.”

Several parents sent messages and spoke to News 6 with similar experiences, including parents Justin and Desiree Sims from St. Petersburg. They have a 3rd and 5th grader also with a school start date of Aug. 24.

“It seemed like the best option but if we would have known it’s not really going to happen at his day and this time, we would have found something else instead,” Desiree said. “I worry that are kids are going to be behind.”

According to Tania Clow, a spokesperson with Florida Virtual School, the registration office has experienced a higher than usual volume of applications, though she didn’t disclose how many applications or how many students still haven’t started school.

“If a student receives a delayed start date, our teachers will extend themselves and work closely with each student to ensure he/she stays on pace with the class. Our online courses are designed to be flexible, self-paced, and adjustable to various schedules. Even though a child may have a delayed start date, he/she will have the opportunity to successfully complete their courses,” Clow said in an email.

Clow also said Florida Virtual Schools is currently hiring 35 teachers for the FLVS full time and another 35 for the FLEX elementary option.

“We are striving to get both FLVS Full Time and FLVS Flex Elementary students who have already registered to start with classes by the end of September,” Clow added.

Florida Virtual School Elementary has closed enrollment until the month of October.

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