Thousands of Orange County students return to classroom for first time this year

School is back in session and on Tuesday, students in Central Florida's largest district return to the classroom -- some for the first time this year.

About 18,000 more students in Orange County will be returning to face-to-face learning – bringing the total to about 100,000 students in the classroom, which is 50 percent of all OCPS students. The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association says they are concerned about the spike in COVID cases across the state following the two-week holiday break.

Schools say schedule and classroom changes were necessary to make sure they can continue to social distance. 

"Our teachers, our bus drivers, our cafeteria workers, they have been working and planning for this increase," said Superintendent Barbara Jenkins.

RELATED: Florida teachers, school staff not prioritized for vaccinations

Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday that the state plans to get teachers vaccinated after seniors and the most vulnerable populations.

"Any teacher that’s 65 or older or who meets other criteria, for example, the hospitals have the ability to vaccinate someone regardless of age as long as they are especially vulnerable to covid. But basically, this is for us this is based on data and if you look at the COVID mortality, 65 and up represents over 80 percent of the COVID-related mortality in our country and in our state of Florida -- so that’s where we need to focus on the outset."

RELATED: County-by-County: How to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Central Florida

Governor DeSantis says it is possible once the Johnson & Johnson one dose COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, that it will go directly to the workforce and teachers could potentially get the vaccination at the schools.