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Bay District Schools virtual students return to brick-and-mortar campus

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 8:37 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) -

Since the start of the school year, more than 800 Bay District students have returned to brick-and-mortar school from online learning.

School officials told NewsChannel 7 back in August of this year that 3,878 students were enrolled in BayLink and 1,152 students were enrolled in Bay Virtual School.

As of October, officials said 3,239 students were enrolled in BayLink and 903 students were enrolled in Bay Virtual School.

“I do remember October 1 was almost the first day of school all over again because so many of our students did return," Breakfast Point Academy Principal Clint Whitfield said.

Online learning is receiving mixed reactions from parents.

On social media some parents rave about BayLink, saying it’s “well-structured and consistent,” as well as “very organized.”

Others said they didn’t believe their child was performing well and they couldn’t focus, thus sending their kids back to campus.

Likewise, back in September, Northside Elementary School Principal Amy Harvey expressed her concerns regarding test scores.

“We’re not seeing the progress that we are seeing in the classroom," Harvey said.

She also said it’s hard to duplicate learning in the classroom at home.

“I do worry that’s there going to be some learning gaps with our students that are BayLink versus those that are coming to campus every day," Harvey said.

Which she said is why some parents are sending their kids back.

However, Bay District Schools officials said many parents ended their time with BayLink simply because they believed on-campus learning was safe again.

“They weren’t sure how the district would handle the safety protocols, how students would handle wearing masks. But now that we’ve started school and the transmission is comparable to the community transmission and they have seen that most of the students are doing well with wearing masks," Bay District Schools Director of Secondary and Adult Instructional Services Alana Simmons said.

Simmons also said district-wide test scores won’t be available until the end of the quarter.

She said that’s when they’ll be able to tell the real effect of online learning compared to brick-and-mortar.

“We are interested to kind of look at the differences and see if there are drastic differences in the grades and then from there do the best we can to support those BayLink students in regards to that," Whitfield said.

Nonetheless, whether there are two or 10 kids on BayLink, officials said teachers are working hard to ensure everyone is learning the material.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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