VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – For some students and teachers, the first day of the 2021-2022 school year will also mark their first day back in a classroom since the coronavirus pandemic began.
A new school year always brings changes. Add a pandemic into the mix and parents and students are bound to have some questions about what to expect.
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To help clear up any confusion ahead of the first day of school, News 6 reached out to each Central Florida school district with some frequently asked questions to help assemble a back-to-school guide for students and parents.
Here’s everything you need to know about heading back to school in Volusia County:
When does school start?
The first day of school in Volusia County is Monday, Aug. 16.
Does my child need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to go to school?
COVID-19 vaccines are not mandatory for students to return to the classroom. In fact, many students are not eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 12 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against the virus. Right now, children 12 years and older are able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
To get the vaccine in Florida, children 12-17 years of age must be accompanied by a guardian and complete the COVID-19 vaccine consent form. To download a copy of the form, click here. Vaccination locations can be found here.
Wondering if the vaccine is safe for kids? Here’s what a Central Florida pediatrician has to say about COVID-19 vaccinations for minors.
Will masks and/or social distancing be required in the classroom?
As of now, masks are voluntary and optional for Volusia County Schools, according to a district spokesperson. County officials say they will also follow social distancing guidelines of at least 3 feet in classrooms, per CDC guidelines, to the greatest extent possible.
“We are closely monitoring the virus in coordination with the health department, and we will communicate any updates to our procedures/guidelines to families quickly anytime anything changes,” the spokesperson said.
Additionally, as of the latest guidance, the CDC is recommending all students and teachers wear masks in the classroom, regardless of vaccination status.
More information about masks and social distancing within Volusia County Schools can be found here.
Will any other coronavirus precautions/restrictions be in place?
Volusia County Schools officials said classrooms, cafeterias, school buses and school facilities are cleaned daily. The district also encourages frequent handwashing and sanitizing.
VCS officials are also asking students, parents and employees to stay home if they are sick or experiencing symptoms of illness.
Details on other COVID-19 precautions can be found here.
Are there any virtual/hybrid learning options available this semester?
According to district officials, Volusia County is only offering two learning options for the upcoming school year: Traditional in-person face-to-face and Volusia Online Learning, the remote learning option for Volusia County Schools. School officials said the window for full-time enrollment will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The district said part-time enrollment is available for the entire school year, parents can sign up their children at this link.
What school supplies do I need to buy for my student?
A universal school supply list for Volusia County students is not posted online because the supplies needed vary by school and grade.
Instead, each school will distribute school supply lists to families. According to the district, the best source of school-based information is the school’s website, social media accounts and Meet Your Teacher/orientation events.
My child will ride the bus. Where should they catch it?
Your student’s bus stop will, of course, depend on where they live. Bus route information can be found here.
Is your child new to their school this year? The map below can be used for directions to any Volusia County schools and administrative facilities.
Is the school district hiring?
The school district is hiring. In fact, according to the district spokesperson, Volusia County Schools is almost always hiring school bus operators and attendants, teachers and support staff.
“Our hiring is ongoing this summer and we are actively recruiting for instructional and non-instructional positions for the 2021-2022 school year,” the spokesperson told News 6. Current vacancies are posted here.
Other helpful information
As we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic, plans can change depending on a number of factors. You can always find the latest back-to-school information at ClickOrlando.com/backtoschool.
News 6 hosted a back-to-school town hall to answer viewer questions ahead of the upcoming school year. You can rewatch it in the video player below.
Volusia County Schools has published a complete COVID-19 guide, which includes a list of other frequently asked questions that may not have been addressed here. The guide can be found here.
To find the Volusia County school district’s academic calendar, click here.
If your question wasn’t answered in this story, click here to visit Volusia County Schools’ website.