All Orange County students begin virtual learning on Monday

Central Florida's largest school district kicks off the year virtually on Monday.

Every student, even the ones who opted for in-person instruction, will begin the 2020- 2021 school year online on Monday. The first nine school days are all about getting students comfortable with the district's LaunchEd program.

The LaunchEd program is the option the district and teachers' union hoped most parents would select for their students when choosing from either LaunchEd, virtual school, or in-person classes.

The district said it has sped up handing out laptops and tablets to students, as well as boosted server capacity to make sure that everyone can get online for the lessons. The district said that of the 212,000 students district-wide, 63 percent opted for LaunchEd learning.

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The district also warned that there may be some glitches along the way. 

Orange County Public Schools asks that students test out their devices before school begins. So, if you have trouble tomorrow, take the following steps:

  • Turn off the device and start it again 60 seconds later.
  • Reach out to your service provider to make sure the connection is working.
  • Let your school know about the issues.
  • Try the connection again after a few minutes.

Some parents have reported trouble opening the LaunchEd app on school-issued devices though. One parent told FOX 35 that "it was coming up as 'error' multiple times." 

Tom Jelneck, president of On Target Digital Marketing, said network delays are possible, citing that "[It's] 212,000 students logging into a system. That’s a lot of people.”

If you’re experiencing technical issues, Jelneck recommends checking your home internet connection.  Make sure your hardware, such as your router, are up-to-date

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According to the school district, more than 60 percent of the 212,000 Orange County students picked LaunchEd as their preferred way to learn this year. 

Jordan Schiller, an Orange County parent, said he was hoping students get back to schools soon, as he said “socializing is so important, especially at the developmental ages.”

However, other parents, like McCullough, said they were concerned about safety in the classrooms, stating that "if we had the option to keep him home, we'd keep him home, with our schedule it just doesn't work out that way.”

On Sunday, last-minute shopping was underway at stores in Orange County. Parents, like Jeff McCullough, were picking up the essentials, including "pens, notebooks, paper, stuff for kindergarten and stuff,” he told FOX 35.

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In-person learning will return to Orange County for the students who choose to do so on August 21st.

Seminole and Sumter Counties' first days are on August 17th. Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Osceola, and Polk Counties start school August 24th. Volusia County then starts on August 31st.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the FOX 35 Classroom Survival Guide as schools prepare to reopen.