Less than 10% of Duval students have signed up for distance learning

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With three weeks until the first scheduled day of school, Duval County Public Schools is still working on a plan for how students will safely return to class.

Public records show less than 10% of Duval County families have signed their children up for virtual learning options. The district said some applications are still processing.

District leaders have been questioning whether all students should be learning online. Board members have also been considering a delayed start date.

As of Friday, records showed 6,900 students were enrolled in Duval County’s distance learning program -- Duval HomeRoom. As of Monday, the district had completed and processed nearly 800 applications for the virtual school program.

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The numbers account for less than 7% of the district’s students.

Terrie Brady, president of Duval Teachers United, said it’s creating a challenge for placing at-risk teachers who want to remain socially distanced.

“Just because a teacher signs up for Duval HomeRoom doesn’t mean they will get to teach,” Brady said. “It’s like a regular classroom. You’ve got to have enough students, we call them FTEs, to generate a classroom. And in some schools you have large numbers and in some schools you have zero.”

Parents have until July 24 to enroll their student into Duval HomeRoom. Parents who choose that option will have online access to similar classes students would take in a brick and mortar setting. The option for Duval HomeRoom is available for middle and high school students, as well as elementary students.

LINK: How to register for DuvalHomeroom

Parent have to set up an account and register through online portal Focus.

Brady also said that hazard pay for teachers who do go into the classroom will likely not happen.

“We talked about it, but I don’t know where the district has the money from right now. In all due respect, I don’t think there’s enough money,” Brady said. “I don’t think any of our schools should be coming back until the numbers get between three and five percent of those tested.”

Another potential issue: teacher pay. If the board does decide to delay the start of school, it could leave teachers waiting even longer for a paycheck.

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