BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Palm Beach County School Board voted during a nearly 11 hour meeting to begin the school year late — possibly August 30th, 2020, with distance learning only.
The delay buys time for the school district to obtain and provide Chromebooks to families in need while solidifying distance learning plans. Distance learning will continue as the only option at least until Palm Beach County moves to “phase two” of the COVID-19 reopening plan.
The Board will meet again next Wednesday to determine an official start date. The ‘distance only’ approach is the plan crafted by Superintendent Donald Fennoy and his staff.
There will be no “in person” component until Palm Beach County moves to Phase Two — at the earliest.
Parents — both for and again the plan — left four hours of voicemail on the proposal, all of the messages were played for the public to hear. Among the messages: blatant mistruths including comments suggesting COVID is fake, children can not be infected by COVID, children are in more danger at home than in school, and that teachers are first responders like police or doctors so should be forced to work.
Among the messages: blatant mistruths including comments suggesting COVID is fake, children can not be infected by COVID, children are in more danger at home than in school, and that teachers are first responders like police or doctors so should be forced to work.
Just days before the meeting, the Florida Dept. of Health revealed that the percent positivity rate of pediatric COVID-19 infections in Palm Beach County is more than 30 percent.
Pediatric is defined by the DOH as age 17 and younger.
While parents differed on opinion as to whether school is safe or not, there was agreement that teachers need to do a better job with distance learning, that computer programs like iReady and “Success Maker” fall short, and that it is imperative that teachers not complain about technology but embrace it.
It also became clear that while the school district as a whole may remain “remote,” the district — and Palm Beach County — need a separate plan for children with learning and or physical disabilities for whom distance learning is impractical or impossible.
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