Decision to be made on Duval County Public School hybrid schedules

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In two weeks, the Duval County School District could make a decision on whether it will continue to offer hybrid learning schedules.

During a board meeting Tuesday night, Dr. Jennifer Cowart -- a physician and parent -- shared her opinion.

“I’m a bit concerned about opening back up full brick and mortar and going away from the hybrid model when right now it seems like it’s working, and we only have a week worth of data,” Cowart said.

According to Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, the majority of reported COVID-19 cases are in elementary schools, which have reported at least 15 cases. Two positive cases have been reported at high schools, and one at a middle school.

It’s unclear exactly how many cases have been reported in Duval County Public Schools, and it’s unknown where they have been reported. Records show an attorney for the school district sent a letter to the Florida Department of Health asking for permission to publish the data. As of Tuesday, the district was still waiting for a response.

RELATED: Doctors ask Duval school leaders to release COVID-19 data in spite of state mandate

Greene says in-person learning 5-days a week could be the reason for the higher number of reported cases at elementary schools, where as the upper-level schools are on hybrid schedules -- participating in both in-person and online learning.

“All day long I’m saying, put this mask on, put this mask on, put this mask on, get your mask on, and I touch masks all day long,” a first grade teacher said during the meeting.

Originally, the district planned to stop the hybrid schedules on the Sept. 14. Now, Greene says, the district is looking into a waiver to possibly extend the deadline and see if the district could continue hybrid learning.

“The hybrid seems to be working,” Coward said. “I know it has its challenges, but it seems like it’s working as far as keeping coronavirus from spreading.”

Greene said the district will meet with the Department of Health at the end of the week, which should give guidance on whether the district should request a waiver to extend the hybrid schedules. She said the district will have to get permission from the Department of Education.

About the Author:

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.