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Remote learning will be allowed in spring, Florida education commissioner says

Executive order coming soon

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Members of the Florida Board of Education met in Tallahassee Wednesday to discuss suggestions made by school district superintendents to keep their students safe in the coming year amid the ongoing pandemic.

The meeting began at 9 a.m. with a call to order by Board Chair Andy Tuck.

Florida superintendents presented suggestions in light of the coronavirus. Seminole County Superintendent Walt Griffin previously asked Florida’s Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to forgo school grades for the 2020-2021 school year because of the circumstances created by the pandemic.

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School districts have been waiting on guidance from the Florida Department of Education whether they will be able to continue online education in the spring semester. Corcoran said during Wednesday’s meeting he expects a new emergency order to be issued before the Thanksgiving break.

“The virtual, the creative district-learning mode which were all clearly in the first order, will be a part of the emergency order in the second because that is full parental choice," Corcoran said.

In fact, Corcoran said the Florida Department of Education plans to continue all three learning options for parents: Florida Virtual School, face-to-face learning and each district’s distance learning method.

“If you have a child that is in one of those choice options and we know that it is not working for them, then these are some of the suggestions -- we have to do one or two things: move them to a different modality, a different choice so we are not shortchanging that child and all the repercussions that come with it, or we need to have massive interventions and we need to know what those interventions are if they are going to stay in that modality -- what are the interventions? We want to see them and know them,” he said.

Under an emergency order for the fall 2020 semester by the Florida Department of Education all school districts could offer virtual learning options as long as they offered face-to-face education. School districts had to submit their reopening plans to the state for approval.

School districts submitted data to a Department of Education survey in October and a DOE spokesperson said the department then worked to clean that data to get a better picture of what enrollment looks like and how it could impact the spring 2021 semester.

Central Florida school district officials said after Wednesday’s decision that they hope to receive the same state funding for remote learning in the spring as they did in the fall semester to continue making it an affordable option.


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