ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Parents of students in two of Central Florida’s largest school districts have until Friday to decide whether they want to switch their child’s learning preference for the second nine weeks of the academic calendar.
Both Orange and Osceola public schools are giving parents the opportunity to switch from face-to-face to digital to LaunchEd for the second nine weeks of the semester, which, for their districts, begin in the second month of August.
Many parents on Friday said they are planning to make the switch from online to face-to-face, including mom Lara Ibarra.
“We chose LaunchEd because we had to make a decision very early, it was July and there were still a lot of unknowns. We had no idea what was going on,” she said. “When I made the decision, I didn’t know what the other parents were doing and I was surprised how many kids in our neighborhood actually did go back and they were doing great.”
Unlike her two sons, one at Gotha Middle School and another Olympia High School sophomore, who are both falling behind in core classes like math and science.
“To try to do chemistry and algebra from home, it’s just a nightmare. They are lost and honestly they are falling behind,” Ibarra added.
Orange County mother BeLinda Sedberry was hired back from being furloughed at work and though she is working from home, she says she is constantly interrupted by her Rock Springs Elementary first and fourth graders.
“Trying to teach a fourth grader, or a first grader for that matter, how to copy and paste, put it in a folder and now find that folder to submit their work, it’s a lot,” Sedberry said. “Every 30 seconds, I’m hearing ‘I need help.’”
She said academically, switching to face-to-face is the best option for her kids.
“I am going to be 100% honest, I am not 100% comfortable, however, I am not sure that keeping them at home is doing them any better,” Sedberry added.
Samantha Henn has five kids, two of them newborn twins, and she said her two oldest kids, both currently in LaunchEd at Palmetto Elementary School, have been missing school about twice a week because the internet is so bad where she lives.
“They have been out because the internet is messed up and they can’t connect,” Henn said. “I need to switch to face-to-face because they are losing their learning.”
Orange County Public Schools asked parents to submit their decisions by contacting their child’s school by the end of the business day Friday. The deadline for Osceola County Public Schools was at noon Friday.
Many parents are wondering if their child will have the same teacher as they have on digital and LaunchEd. Both Osceola and Orange County school officials said it all depends on how many students return to face-to-face learning. That’s why they set the deadlines one month before the start of the nine weeks, which would be the second week in October for the two districts.
Parents in Seminole County should be on the lookout as surveys for their choice of preferred learning also went out Friday. Those surveys are due back Wednesday.