Orange County schools asks state to waive testing consequences over graduation concerns

OCPS joins at least two other school districts with similar requests.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools is asking the state Department of Education to waive Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) testing results for another year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Superintendent Barbara Jenkins and Chair Teresa Jacobs issued stated OCPS continues to face obstacles from the pandemic that have disrupted learning.

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According to the district, there were several thousand student and teacher absences in January due to the surging omicron variant.

While requesting flexibility, district leaders asked the state to waive letter grades for schools and not require test scores for students to be promoted from third grade.

Wendy Dormal, who is the president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, supports the request.

“I think absolutely, students should be given flexibility, we’ve had quarantined students, we’ve had absent students,” Dormal said. “There’s no way you could call this a normal school year.”

OCPS also asked to delay tougher score requirements for graduation, which goes into effect for seniors this year.

“I think that the requests are common sense to reduce graduation requirements for students who might have been ill or quarantined,” Dormal said.

Orange County joins at least two other school districts with similar requests.

So far, Corcoran hasn’t responded to the letter. The next meeting for the Florida Board of Education is Feb. 9.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.