Florida schools spring plan: Districts intervene for struggling virtual students

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida schools will stay open with a virtual option next semester, Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed on Monday. But if your child is struggling in virtual learning, you can plan on getting a phone call from school officials soon.

Gov. DeSantis, alongside Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, announced the state’s new plan for students left behind by remote learning on Monday. Moving forward, school districts must notify you if your child is struggling online. Then your child must return to in-person instruction unless you affirmatively opt-out.

“If that parent, as the governor said, says ‘no I’m going to keep them in that mode,’ then we do something even more,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “We’re going to do massive interventions.”

If you’re concerned about coronavirus, you can still choose to keep your child at home. But for now, we don’t know what the massive interventions entail, who they’ll apply to or how long they’ll last.

“When we see that, that mode is not working for that child and that parent, we want them to move into a different mode,” Commissioner Corcoran said.

Andrew Spar, the president of the Florida Education Association – a union that represents 145 thousand educators – says while schools have not been super spreaders, there’s still concern and districts need to have a plan.

“Safety should come first and should be paramount,” said Spar. “We are seeing classrooms packed with 25 to 30 kids in some parts of the state, they’re not socially distancing.”

Spar says the education commissioner appears to have listened to what many educators and parents have called for.

“The state could do even more to help our students by suspending high-stakes standardized testing. That would allow more time for real learning so that students and teachers can catch up from the disruption caused by COVID,” Spar said. “If some tests must be administered, they should not be make-or-break for our already stressed students and public schools.”

Gov. DeSantis said the data is clear: kids are safe inside classrooms.

Districts have two weeks to submit their plans. It could be different in each county.

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