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Florida schools required to open buildings in August

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an emergency order Monday about the fall semester for schools.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an emergency order Monday about the fall semester for schools.(Associated Press)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 7:07 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) - The Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education has issued an emergency order mandating schools must open buildings in August.

Commissioner Richard Corcoran made the order Monday. Corcoran writes in the order the state wants to accomplish the goals of “reopening brick and mortar schools with the full panoply of services for the benefit of Florida students and families; suspending and adjusting as necessary reporting requirements to ensure appropriate monitoring and financial continuity of the educational process; retaining high-quality school choices for Florida students and families with a focus on eliminating achievement gaps, which may have been exacerbated by the crisis; and maintaining services that are legally required for all students, such as low-income, English language learning, and students with disabilities.”

Corcoran orders all school boards and charter school governing boards to open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students, subject to advice and orders from the Florida Department of Health and executive orders.

He also describes “full panoply of services” in the order to mean school districts and charter school governing boards must provide the full array of services that are required by law so families who want to educated their children in schools full time have the opportunity to do so. These services are described as in person instruction unless state or local health directive says not to, specialized instruction and services for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or live instruction with the same curriculum as in-person instruction and the ability to interact with a student’s teacher and peers, and required services must be provided to students from low-income families, students of migrant workers, students who are homeless, students with disabilities, students in foster care, students who are English Language Learners, and vulnerable populations.

School districts must submit a reopening plan based on the requirements of the order.

The order states these guidelines are for the fall semester of 2020.

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