Deadline nears for Orange, Osceola County parents to change their kid’s learning option

‘It’s a way for us to know what we are dealing with going forward,’ OCPS Chairman Kelvin Soto said

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The window of time for students in two school districts to switch to a different learning model will close on Sept. 18.

Orange and Osceola County Public Schools want those who want to make a change to do so before the deadline.

Chairman Kelvin Soto with Osceola County Public Schools said the district wants to be prepared for students who opt to make a change.

“It’s a way for us to know what we are dealing with going forward,” Soto said.

Officials with Orange County Public Schools and Osceola Public Schools are asking parents if they want their child to switch options they should call the school their child attends by Sept. 18.

Soto said he doesn’t believe that there will be a lot of changes, but giving families the option is part of the district’s effort to be transparent.

“We want to know that if we have a lot of parents that want face to face, tomorrow is the deadline and we’ll be able to accommodate the classrooms and teachers, for the number of students that will choose that option,” Soto said.

The pandemic has forced districts to develop a safe plan based on how many families choose to switch to face-to-face learning. Latasha Byrd said her daughter attends Orange County Public Schools and was originally enrolled in LaunchEd.

“I’m fortunate that the option is actually there and we didn’t have to trudge through a model that wasn’t working for us,” Byrd said.

At the beginning of the school year, Orange County public schools reported 29.3% of the student body opted for face-to-face learning and 62.8% percent selected LaunchED.

Byrd said switching to face-to-face learning wasn’t something she wanted to do but it was the best decision for her family.

“For me personally as a parent, I feel I’m terrified, I feel like I failed because I wasn’t able to make this work for her, but at the end of the day I have to consider her mental health,” Byrd said.

Chairman Soto said Osceola County Public Schools will repeat a similar process for the spring. The window of time is between Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.

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