OSCEOLA 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.
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 Osceola County:
When does school start?
The first day of school in Osceola County is Thursday, Aug. 12.
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.
A list of immunization needs for the 2021-22 school year can be found here.
Will masks and/or social distancing be required in the classroom?
According to a spokesperson for the school district, the policy going into the 2021-2022 school year is that masks are optional. However, as of the latest guidance, the CDC is recommending all students and teachers wear masks in the classroom, regardless of vaccination status.
Officials said they will also social distance where it allows.
The spokesperson said the district will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and closely monitor COVID-19 case numbers.
Will any other coronavirus precautions/restrictions be in place?
News 6 has reached out to Osceola County to find out if any additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be in place. This story will be updated when that information is made available.
Are there any virtual/hybrid learning options available this semester?
According to district officials, Osceola County is only offering two learning options for the upcoming school year. Students can return to the classroom for in-person learning or enroll in Osceola Virtual School.
What school supplies do I need to buy for my student?
Supply lists for Osceola County schools can be found here.
My child will ride the bus. Where should they catch it?
Your student’s bus stop will, of course, depend on where they live. Enter your address here to see your child’s bus route.
Is the school district hiring?
Yes. The district spokesperson said the school system is in need of bus drivers before the start of the school year. Click here to learn more about employment opportunities with the Osceola County school district.
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.
To find the Osceola County school district’s academic calendar, click here.
If your question wasn’t answered in this story, click here to visit Osceola County Schools’ website.