Despite hiccups, Duval County superintendent says 1st day of school was a success

School district says Microsoft Teams problem not fully resolved

School district says Microsoft Teams problem not fully resolved.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite problems early in the day with virtual learning, Duval County Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said the first day of school on Thursday was successful.

One of the biggest issues was with Duval HomeRoom, the school district’s remote learning platform. About 25% of students who were remote learning on Thursday morning had issues signing into their classes, Greene said.

“I thank teachers, parents and students for their patience because we did have some problems today, particularly, a big problem with our relaunch of Teams, and I don’t want to save big problem because in some schools they worked just fine but in others we had issues,” Greene said. “Although it didn’t go as well as we wanted, we know that Microsoft is working very hard to fix the issues. I’ve spoken to them directly today and I expect the experience to improve very quickly.”

According to Duval County Public Schools, Microsoft has resolved many of the issues that students experienced with the Teams software, but the problem is not yet completely fixed.

The school district said it is possible that some students could experience a problem seeing Teams classrooms on Friday. Students are encouraged to try to log into classes throughout the day. Also, students should check their school email for any messages from their teachers. Many teachers are creating workarounds while the system is being repaired.

“We have every expectation this problem will be resolved in the near future,” the school district said in a statement.

Greene spent most of the first day of school as a teacher herself, leading third-grade students at Loretto Elementary School in Mandarin.

“We had many things go really well, and that began with thousands of students making their way back to brick and mortar learning for the first time since March 6, and another large group of students reconnecting with us online,” she said during a Thursday evening press conference at the district office. “I know that I speak for thousands of teachers and staff here at the district when I say it was outstanding to take this first big step across the bridge to normal.”

Greene acknowledged that many families had problems working through some of the new processes and some of those problems are still being resolved.

“But with all the new options and procedures, we had more than 29,000 students successfully register for a bus stop, and more than 40,000 students apply for Duval HomeRoom,” Greene said.

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The district used 295 substitute teachers on the first day of school after some teachers chose to call out sick in protest of returning to brick-and-mortar campuses.

“That is a wonderful number for us because we’ve been as high as 800 subs on any given day so the fact that we only had 295 on the first day, means that we had a very successful first day,” Greene said. “Teachers are out for a number of reasons. If they call out sick they are able to express those reasons, and we are here to get them a sub.”

Greene said the district added additional subs for the first day to prepare.

UNCUT: Duval County superintendent speaks following 1st day of school

Despite problems early in the day with virtual learning, Duval County superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said the first day of school on Thursday was successful.

Greene also said she had “very little challenges” with students removing masks in her third-grade class on Thursday. School who visited schools on Thursday said overall there was good compliance with mask and social distancing protocols.

“The number one thing that they saw was that students were wearing their mask and that they did not have any real issues with students keeping their mask on, but we’re going to have to continue to work with social distancing. That will be an issue for us,” Greene said.

Despite the challenges, Greene said she is thrilled that students are back in schools and back with teachers.

“Overall I am satisfied,” Greene said. “You’re going to have challenges you’re going to have things that you thought were airtight and problems come up. With the fact that we were able to transport over 20,000 students, we were able to provide breakfast, lunch, and for some students dinner for thousands of students, we were able to get them to school, back home safely to their families for the first day is a successful day. And the fact that we did it in the midst of a pandemic makes it even more successful.”

An office at the Shultz Center — located at 4019 Boulevard Center Drive on the Southside — that was set up to resolve back-to-school issues will remain open for walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays through Tuesday.

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