CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – As part of what it’s calling a “smart restart,” the Clay County School District on Thursday revealed four options it will be offering students for learning during the fall semester.
The options include: Traditional brick and mortar (all grades), Clay Virtual Academy (grades K-12), One Clay Online (grades K-6) and blended learning (grades 7-12).
Parents and students can make their choice on the Clay County School District’s website. It must be made by July 16. Should a selection not be made, the student will automatically be enrolled in the traditional brick and mortar option.
Brick and mortar (All grades)
The school day follows the standard bell times and scheduled the includes all core classes. It’s essentially a return to the traditional school environment, with several changes involving health and safety precautions that were created following protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Students at the elementary level will spend time on campus with their classmates in the classroom, cafeteria, media center and the playground. Interaction with students from other classes “will be limited to the greatest extent possible.”
Each school for students at the secondary level will have customized plans to discourage large gatherings in common areas. The number of students allowed in the cafeteria, media center and gyms will be reduced. Extracurricular activities will resume with new health and safety protocols.
Clay Virtual Academy (K-12)
This is a full-time virtual school that the district says is idea for students who need a flexible daily schedule. Students will often work on assignments during non-traditional hours and maintain contact with the teacher and classmates using web-based class sessions, emails, texts and phone calls.
OneClay Online (K-6)
This is designed for families with students who would like to stay in their enrolled school, but do not yet feel comfortable returning to the brick and mortar environment.
Instruction is provided remotely and students will have access to teachers during their typical school day hours. OneClay Online is said to be “more rigorous and time intensive” than fourth quarter distance learning from spring.
Students can register for OneClay Online distance learning by filling out a registration form, which must be completed by July 16.
Blended learning (7-12)
The fourth option allows students to learn select courses in a brick and mortar environment and take other courses through Clay Virtual Academy.
For example, a student may attend their zoned brick and mortar school four periods a day and two periods of the day at home through Clay Virtual Academy. Student schedules will be based on course availability.
Students who choose this option will need to work with their school based guidance counselor in order to determine the courses and daily schedule that are available in each school.
On News4Jax’s News 4 Clay County Facebook page, hundreds weighed in on the options. Some parents wrote that they were confused and needed more clarity. Other parents who were concerned about the spread of the coronavirus said the Virtual Academy and online options were what they are favoring. And three Clay County parents who spoke with News4Jax on Thursday each agreed they were choosing option one.
“I think brick and mortar is one hundred percent the way to go. I feel like it was so difficult with the online schooling, getting children to sit that many hours a day in front of a computer and not getting the feedback from the teacher that we needed for help,” said Amanda Eckford-Hupp, mother of two children. “I just feel that going to school and being in front of a teacher that my kids personally are going to get the education they deserve.”
“We have a 4-year old with Down syndrome, and the whole time we were doing the Clay Virtual when the COVID hit, he’s not been able to learn anything,” said Crystal McGuffey, a mother of three. “If they give him a stack of papers, and if we go over with him, it’s fine but it’s not the same. He needs hands-on learning.”
“They need school,” said Heather Smith, a mother of three. “They need their friends, activities and their teachers. A sense of normalcy is very important.”