St. Johns County could ditch school-based virtual learning this fall

The district expects COVID-19 will impact school operations through December 2021

St. Johns County School District wants parents’ help deciding on fall reopening plan

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With three months left in the current school year, the St. Johns County School District has already assembled a group of leaders to begin planning for the 2021-2022 school year.

The group formed by Superintendent Tim Forson has met three times over the last month and is trying to figure out how to approach the next school year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to linger.

In a presentation to the St. Johns County School Board on Tuesday, the district said it expects COVID-19 will continue to impact school operations through December 2021.

The district said its goal for next year is to build an instructional continuity plan and improve on lessons learned from the current school year. One of the plans under consideration for next year would do away with school-based virtual learning, starting in the fall semester, in favor of offering brick-and-mortar learning along with St. Johns Virtual School, a school with its own set of teachers.

The district said the plan, which is not set in stone, would allow teachers to focus on one platform and improve the learning experience for students.

Due to staffing issues as a result of the coronavirus, some St. Johns County teachers have been leading both virtual students and in-person students at the same time. Teachers said the set-up left them feeling overworked and frustrated and the district has already started to move some teachers away from the dual-platform teaching model.

The district’s presentation, which is subject to change based on outside agencies, comes as the vaccine is becoming accessible to more and more teachers in Florida and across the nation.

Teachers, bus drivers and other school personnel 50 years old and up can now get vaccinated at federal and state vaccination sites in Florida.

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