Florida is giving parents the choice of keeping remote learning for the spring semester.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced, “We will have full parental choice in the first emergency order and our subsequent emergency order. The governor will take nothing less."
COVID-19 cases in the state continue to rise, and some schools switched to virtual learning due to virus spread. The reopening of classrooms, became political after Corcoran ordered school districts to offer in-person instruction five days a week or be penalized financially.
Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar said that flexibility has been critical.
“If that funding goes away there’s no way districts can offer that option and parents will either have to use a traditional virtual platform such as Florida Virtual School or what districts have in their own virtual programs. Or they will have to send them back to brick and mortar,” said Spar.
The Commissioner said his next emergency order will provide parents the option of virtual learning, but he didn’t commit to continue funding virtual students. Corcoran wants to ensure students who fall behind in virtual learning can easily transition to in-person classes.
“If they’re going to stay for medical reasons in that modality. What are the interventions? And we want to see them and know them,” said Corcoran.
Florida’s health department has verified COVID-19 cases among students or faculty at 955 schools across Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties, including an additional 128 schools in South Florida since last week.
The report does not specify whether the infected students and faculty have been participating in in-person learning. District leaders and teachers have expressed concern about rising coronavirus numbers in Florida and across the country.
COVID-19 in schools only include cases confirmed by the state, not all that have been reported locally. Educators have said that parents are notified of cases at their children’s schools before cases are certified by the state.
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