PALATKA, Fla. – Putnam County schools will be reopening in a month, and parents have a week to decide which option to enroll their student in for the fall.
“I do wish they did have more time. I would not be opposed to them starting in September,” said Melissa Dreyer, a grandparent in Putnam County.
The district released three options for students Wednesday.
The first is face-to-face instruction at traditional brick-and-mortar schools. This option requires everyone on campuses to wear masks when they can’t social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It includes also daily temperature checks, bringing a water bottle to school as water fountains will be closed and wearing masks and social distancing when moving around the classroom, working in small groups, changing classes and waiting in line for food in the cafeteria.
“It’s going to be kind of hard for them, I think, at first until they can get into that routine,” said Dreyer.
Superintendent Dr. Rick Surrency said, so far, 70% of submissions have been for this option.
“Not only are we educating kids but we’re providing a service to our parents where they can also provide for their kids. Our local economy depends on our parents working and getting back to normal, and K-12 schools are a big part of that,” said Surrency.
The second option is digital learning, with about 30% of the submissions.
Students will follow the traditional daily schedule under a nine-week commitment in a supervised environment. They will be in a real-time classroom setting on software similar to Zoom or Skype, so students can ask questions to a teacher live in the classroom.
The third option is Putnam Virtual School, which is what they did in the spring as an independent learning option.
“We’re spending a considerable amount of money on the distance learning equipment itself to be able to provide these services, extra instruction to close the achievement gap. And, again, were using CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) money to fill those needs, as well,” said Surrency.
The plan was released before the Florida Department of Education released its plan but it lines up with the state’s requests.
Parents have until July 16 to decide, and if they don’t make a choice, their child will default into the brick-and-mortar option.
The superintendent is encouraging parents to decide now so school principals can start scheduling classes around which students will be where.
The school board also said it will release the employee reopening plans with options for teachers.
Teachers will also have three options: Face-to-face, online teaching or coordinating with supervisors on a case-by-case basis.
Parents can click here to decide which option is best for their child.