CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Thursday is the last day Clay County families can submit plans for how their children will return to learning in the coming weeks. The Clay County school district is offering four options to choose from, including full-time in-person learning at a brick-and-mortar campus.
If families miss the deadline, their children will be automatically enrolled for in-person learning.
For incoming Fleming Island High School senior, Cameron Longmire, the decision was simple. Longmire is a right guard on the school's football team.
"Most likely, I'm probably going to go back to school because of football practice," Longmire said. "Not being around friends every day. That's probably another reason why I might go back."
Not everyone is so sure. Caci Sigler has six grandchildren who attend Clay County public schools. She says to her knowledge, no decisions have been made as of yet in her family. Sigler says she's had family members test positive for COVID-19. She's concerned about safety in schools.
"If a teacher tests positive now, everybody's infected," Sigler said. "How do you keep all the children who have been in contact? It spreads."
In all, families have four options to choose from:
Brick-and-mortar (All grades)
The school day follows the standard bell times and schedule that 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 ideal 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 to 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.
The district is also considering the idea of delaying the first day of school for more preparation. Both the Clay County School Board and Superintendent, David Broskie, support the idea of pushing back the school start date to Aug. 24. Right now, Clay County schools are set to resume on Aug. 11.
"I think it's probably a good idea," Sigler said. "You want all the questions answered before you send your kids to school."
Longmire is just anxious to get back.
"I just want to have a senior year," Longmire said. "As long as we get to play the season and I get to finish my senior year, I'll be satisfied."
The School Board will vote on pushing the start date back during a meeting in two weeks.