A quarter of Bay District Schools students opt for online learning, says board chairman

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 5:19 PM CDT
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In just two short months Florida schools will be back in session.

"We've been able to provide a road-map to announce the return of our schools to on-campus instruction and to bring long-term improvements to the instructional continuity," said Governor Ron DeSantis during his press conference Thursday, making it clear schools will reopen in full swing this upcoming school year.

While Bay District Schools board chairman Steve Moss is happy to see school return to normal, he admits doing so while trying to maintain new COVID-19 guidelines will be a challenge. “If you expect four, five, and six-year-olds to wear a mask all day that’s not going to happen, I mean realistically. If you think they’re going to keep six feet apart throughout the day- unrealistic, not going to happen,” said Moss.

According to a Bay District Schools survey, about 70% of parents said they’d like their children to return to school on time in August, but that doesn’t mean all students will be in the traditional classroom.

Moss said, “25% of our students will opt to do the virtual learning route... that being said 75% or the vast majority of our students their parents shared with us that they want that traditional classroom setting.”

Arnold High School principal, Britt Smith, said his school is prepared for both options and everything else in between. “Things from being able to house some of our students, like our incoming ninth graders, maybe limiting where they would be accessing the campus to being able to have more outdoor seating at lunchtime,” said Smith.

He said these new challenges won’t be going away any time soon, but Bay County students are no strangers to adapting- “we know that it’s been two years of breaks that they’ve had and we want to get them re-engaged in lessons and get that quality school experience that’s going to give them just a fantastic school year.”

As of now the deadline for parents to decide whether their children will attend school online or in-person is July 15th, but district officials say that's subject to change.

There will also be a school board workshop on July 14th open to the public to discuss ideas and options for the coming school year.

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