St. Johns County superintendent outlines 4 changes to district’s COVID-19 protocol

One change is there will be no more switching between learning formats

Superintendent Tim Forson sent a message laying out four changes due to the ongoing pandemic that students and parents can expect when they return to school after winter break.

The St. Johns County School District will be making some course corrections for the spring semester as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers. The changes aim to make it easier to handle multiple learning formats.

In a message sent Monday to school families, Superintendent Tim Forson outlined four changes to the school district’s operations under COVID-19.

First, there will be no more switching between learning formats. Students will have to commit to either in-person learning or virtual learning for the entire semester.

Earlier this year, Forson recognized frequent switching between the two was causing teachers headaches and affecting other students.

Forson said in Monday’s message that the schools will push for the in-person format, writing: “It has become increasingly apparent that students are best served in the school building with face-to-face instruction.” He goes on to say: “If students have been unsuccessful in the distance learning environment, we will recommend a return to brick and mortar/face-to-face learning.”

Second, Forson said, teachers won’t be instructing in-person classes and virtual classes at the same time. The administration said it will be rearranging the teaching schedules to get rid of as many dual-platform classes as possible.

Third, the superintendent said, the school district will be putting together some “intensive instructional support” programs for students who are struggling this year.

Also, the Wednesday dismissals will go back to being just one hour early, instead of two hours early like it has been so far this year.

Finally, the message warns that several important assessments in the second semester will require in-person testing. Forson said the schools will be sending out more information soon.

The message added that all schools will be reworking their COVID-19 guidelines to account for updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including a shorter quarantine time.

About the Author:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.