Orange County School Board votes to reopen schools on Aug. 21

Orange County’s school superintendent said the district wants a compromise for the governor, parents, and teachers when it comes to reopening. They set the tentative for classes to begin on August 21.

After a marathon debate, the OCPS School Board asked the state to sign off on their "Launch ED” plan, a program that has students taking a full day of classes while at home. 

“Through a digital platform, teachers can go through the regular bell schedule and the regular seat time that students would experience if they were in school,” explained OCPS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins.

This is different than what they call "Virtual School."

“Those are not based on seat time,” Jenkins said, “those are based on course completion.” Given the number of coronavirus cases in Orange County, they also voted to ask the state for the flexibility to push back the start of school if they need. “So they can take control over the determination of the actual start date based on local data,” Jenkins said.

Wendy Doromal, OCPS Teachers' Union president, said it was a good compromise to keep students learning and out of harm's way.

“During a time when cases are rising and hospitalizations are increasing, we're not going to put our students, teachers, employees and the families they go home to in danger.”

The district is also sending a survey to parents asking them what choice they prefer for their kids. In-person classes, virtual school, or the county's "Launch ED" program.

The Orange County School District is proposing three options for fall:

  • In-person learning: Students and teachers will participate in traditional, face-to-face instruction with enhanced safety protocols in place.
  • Orange County Virtual School: Students will learn on their own time from home. Families can also choose to have face-to-face work days two days a month at the Orange County Virtual School campus.
  • OCPS LaunchED at home: A combination of at-school and in-home days.

Among the proposed changes for those going into the school building:

  • Everyone over age 3 would be required to wear a mask.
  • Mandatory handwashing upon entry to the building and right before leaving a classroom.
  • There will be staggered entry times to try to allow for social distancing.
  • Random temperature checks