One week before in-person school, OCPS still finalizing plans

With less than a week until in-person instruction begins, Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) is still figuring out its safety protocols for returning to the classroom, putting some on-edge.

During an OCPS Medical Advisory Committee Meeting Friday, it was apparent a final plan is not in place with just days until students will be back in the classroom.

Board Chairwoman Teresa Jacobs had questions about how close desks can be safely spaced inside classrooms.

“If that means we have to reduce and shift class sizes, how important of a priority do you think that social distancing is, considering our students are wearing masks?” said Teresa Jacobs, Chairwoman, OCPS School Board.

Another question: Should student’s temperatures be taken daily?

“Your thoughts on having thermometers in homeroom classes?” said Jacobs.

Orange County Classroom Teacher’s Association President Wendy Doromal tells me these simple questions, so late in the game, is concerning.

“They should have been answered months ago, they should have been working on this months ago, we knew that COVID was not going away and they have done a deep disservice to every child, parent, and teacher,” said Wendy Doromal, President, Orange County Classroom Teacher’s Association.

The committee, supporting the return-to-the-classroom date of August 21st. The medical professionals working on recommendations in regards to a mask policy, testing, contact tracing, PPE, and education.

The committee will present its final recommendations to the school board Monday, August 17. In-person teaching resumes a few days later on August 21.

Read the Medical Advisory Committee recommendations here.