State OKs Duval County’s ‘hybrid’ school reopening plan

Fewer than half of Florida's school districts have received approval weeks before students expected back in classrooms

Preview of Duval County student wearing face shied and Plexiglas partisans.
Preview of Duval County student wearing face shied and Plexiglas partisans. (DCPS photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County, whose reopening plans go against the Department of Education’s emergency order asking schools to reopen face-to-face five days a week, got a green light from the state to proceed.

The school board last month approved a hybrid learning plan to allow students to return to physical classrooms gradually, giving them an option to return to school a few days out of the week when classes resume Aug. 20. It also gives the option for students to enroll in virtual distance learning.

The chairman of the school board said Duval schools aren’t ready to reopen based on the current COVID-19 conditions. The head of DCPS said $70 million in funding was at stake if its back-to-school plan had not been approved by the state.

Section III of the emergency executive order handed down by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran states that school districts and charter school governing boards with an approved reopening plan “will receive reporting flexibility designed to provide financial continuity for the 2020 semester.”

The executive order is set to expire in December.

Florida’s DOE also approved Miami-Dade’s reopening plan, which is 100% virtual.

According to the state’s website, the state has approved the plans of 24 of Florida’s 67 counties, including Baker, Clay and Putnam.

For full coverage of back-to-school issues, visit our Facing the Fall special section.

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