School districts start discussing reopening ideas for fall

School districts across Florida are forming their own task forces, to help plan for reopening in the fall. Many are just starting discussions about options to keep students safe.

Some of those options include continued remote learning, while others bring students back into the classroom and adhering to strict social distance.  Joshua Katz, a math teacher at Orlando's University High School, said he misses interacting with his students.

"It’s been an emotional rollercoaster," said Katz.

Even though many students are receiving registration packets for the fall semester, there is no set plan in place by the governor to return to school. We asked Katz, how he could possibly social distance in his classroom.

"If you have one teacher, there could be 10 students spaced apart, so you can work with them in that manner," he explained, but he cautioned it would cost more money for space and staff. "I have 25 students per class, so if we’re going to have to have a room situation where there’s 10 per classroom, we're gonna have to double our size, double the amount of teachers that are gonna be needed."

He said schedules could also be staggered with a virtual school.

"What I would hope to see is the weaving of distance learning that we ended the year with."

With distance learning, he believes the district could continue providing meals to go for students so they could avoid eating in the cafeteria.  He also believes students will still wear masks and use hand sanitizer.

"Washing your hands, disinfecting things. That will still be part of the equation," Katz said.

However, for younger children, it could be even more challenging. We talked to the head of the teachers union in Orange County Wendy Doromal.

"They’re probably going to take their mask off if they’re really young kids. It's hard to wear a mask for a long time," Doromal said.

When asked if schools and teachers would be ready to receive students for in-person learning in the fall, she said it was unlikely.

"I don’t see how we could. If there’s a vaccine or some wonder drug or miracle yes, but the way things look now, I’m not so sure."

Osceola County School Board Chairman Kelvin Soto said there’s more to learn about COVID-19 before students can head back into the classroom.

"Without that understanding, it’s really hard to implement solutions," he said, adding that he thinks it will also include virtual learning. "I see the solutions coming from a technology side of things. I’m hoping we can have a system in place that we’ve been developing that distance education can continue."

Gov. Ron DeSantis also has a task force to help plan for reopening. Ultimately, it will be the governor's decision of when schools will reopen.