Orange County schools to extend summer school hours due to ‘extensive learning loss’

Schools will be open 5 days a week throughout summer

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools plans to keep all of its campuses open five days a week over the summer “because of extensive learning loss over the past 11 months,” according to an email sent out to district employees.

“We must accelerate instruction over the summer for many students,” the email read.

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The email does not detail what “extensive learning loss” means. However, Dr. Maria Vazquez, the deputy superintendent for OCPS, spoke about the issue during a media briefing hosted by Orange County Thursday.

“We know some of our students have struggled during the pandemic academically and emotionally, especially those that have been learning from home, through our Launchpad model,” Vazquez said. “An expanded comprehensive summer school program will be conducted at each of our Orange County Public Schools, to help strengthen academic performance for students that have experienced learning loss through the pandemic.”

This will mean a “5-day work week schedule throughout the summer,” according to the district email. This will run through June and July, Vazquez said. Schools will close for an Independence Day break, July 5-9 because the holiday falls on a Sunday.

“Our goal is to offer opportunities of full-day, being able to interweave art, music and physical education in order to engage our students,” Vazquez said.

Meals will be provided for students attending summer school as well as transportation for students who live “outside our 2-mile radius and or our normal bus riders,” according to the deputy superintendent.

All district offices will be open for normal business hours.

It is not entirely clear what impact this new summer schedule will have on teachers and staff, but it does appear that it could affect some time off.

“To ensure employee leave is for 8 hours and not 10 hours, employee leave previously submitted for time off between June 10 - July 28 should be deleted and re-submitted through the myOCPS portal beginning Friday, February 12, 2021. This includes any unpaid leave entered directly in SAP,” the email read.

Teachers in the district will be paid their daily rate of pay for this extended summer school, Vasquez said, adding that all services associated with these summer classes would be funded using federal dollars.

The deputy superintendent said the school district will also be offering additional learning opportunities over spring break.

“The district is offering, offering spring break camps at select schools, the spring break programs structure and length varies by school, and will be featured on our district website,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez took a deeper look at the numbers from the 2019-20 school year.

“When we compare our data to last year’s data at the same time, it varies on the subject area and grade level anywhere from a 3% decline to a 9% decline,” she said.

Teachers who volunteered will have the option of how much they will teach in the summer.

“We are offering summer school in the month of June and the month of July, so we are going to offer teachers the opportunity to teach the entire summer, maybe they only want to teach June and have July off,” she said.

You can read the full text of the email below.

“Because of extensive learning loss over the past 11 months we must accelerate instruction over the summer for many students. More hours are required for summer school to increase student success. We must remain on a 5-day work week schedule throughout the summer. All district offices will be open for normal business hours. Schools will be open five days a week with the exception of the July 4 break, July 5-9. To ensure employee leave is for 8 hours and not 10 hours, employee leave previously submitted for time off between June 10 - July 28 should be deleted and re-submitted through the myOCPS portal beginning Friday, February 12, 2021. This includes any unpaid leave entered directly in SAP.

Summer visitor hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at all school and district offices. Until coronavirus health and safety protocols change, all visitors will still require an appointment before visiting an office or school.

<u>July 4 Shutdown</u>: All work locations will be closed Monday, July 5, for the Independence Day holiday. Schools will continue to be closed July 6-9.”

OCPS email to employees

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