Orange County Public Schools lays out proposed plan for 2020-2021 school year

“It is being recommended today that the start of the school year for students be pushed back from August 10 to Friday, August 21,” School Board Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins said to the Orange County School Board. 

She read through the proposed plan that Orange County School Board members were discussing on Tuesday night.   The newest change to the plan is to push the start of school back by about two weeks. 

“It would allow for monitoring of more COVID-19 data,” Dr. Jenkins said.

Parents will have three options:

  • Face-to-face: Sending kids back to school
  • Virtual School: Enrolling their child up for virtual school. 
  • Hybrid: The third option is a hybrid of virtual learning and in-school learning, called "OCPS LaunchEd@home."

“Parents will be able to choose to keep kids at school for the entire time or select a combination of in-school and at-home days with the 'LaunchEd' program. And based upon demand, teachers may be allowed to teach from home or from their classroom,” Dr. Jenkins said.

School officials also discussed proposed changes for those going into school buildings. 

Some of those changes include:

  • Everyone over age 3 would be required to wear a mask with the exception of some children with disabilities or those with health conditions that wouldn’t allow for that. 
  • Hand-washing will be mandatory upon entering the building and leaving a classroom. 
  • Entry times into the buildings would be staggered to allow for social distancing. 
  • Temperature checks would be done at random.

Teachers are making it clear they’re not OK with going back into real classrooms yet. 

“I am a teacher and I don’t want to die,” one teacher said standing before the board. 

Parents made it clear that they’d prefer virtual learning for now, too. 

“He does need social interaction. I’m not risking his life for that,” said a mother who called in, who has a young child with special needs.

The school board did not reach a vote at Tuesday's meeting. The reopening plan and possible delay of the school start date will be discussed at a meeting on Friday.