verde elementary covid-19 In this photo provided by the Palm Beach County School District, Verde Elementary School is letting children roam in wide open classrooms.

UPDATE: Parents MUST Choose Distance or In-Person Within Days For PBC Schools

Boca Raton Facial Coverings News Palm Beach County Schools

Decision Binding For Months, Then New Decision To Last Until End Of School Year. Parents To Receive Email Friday.

verde elementary covid-19
In this photo provided by the Palm Beach County School District, Verde Elementary School is spacing students but not requiring them to use plexiglass shields. (Courtesy Palm Beach County School District).

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

BOCA RATON, FL ( — As first reported Wednesday night, all parents and guardians must decide by October 15th whether their child will spend the rest of 2020 in “distance learning” or “in-person” education in the Palm Beach County School District. Just two weeks ago, parents were guaranteed by School Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy — and the Palm Beach County School Board — that switching from one to another would be no problem indefinitely. A change from “distance” to “in-person” required a week’s notice for social distancing configuration. A switch from in-person to “distance” was instant.

Boca Area Elementary School boxes
But at another Boca Raton-area elementary school, students sit in plexiglass cubicles throughout the day. (

But principals, apparently unable to react in real-time to changing metrics, complained, as did some teachers who said it was too difficult to teach to students in a classroom while also teaching to students online. Their complaints led embattled school district superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy, under fire from the teacher’s union for reneging on a promise to let teachers teach remotely if needed for health reasons, to push the new plan.

Under the calendar approved by school officials and set to be released in a Friday email to parents: a choice must by made by October 15th to lock your child into “in person” or “distance” learning until the end of the semester which falls right after winter break. Then, by roughly January 15th, parents must decide what their child will do for the rest of the school year. Any decision made in January will be in effect until school ends in June.

A school district source told that waivers may be issued to parents who decide to make changes after the deadline, but that this new policy must be followed so principals and teachers can better plan.

Complicating the matter, parents from across Palm Beach County tell that they have no idea whether a specific choice, one way or another, will result in a new teacher for their child. The school system, for now, is leaving that decision to principals at individual schools.

The Palm Beach County School District was seemingly caught off-guard last week when it expected roughly half of the 180,000 student body to return to in-person learning, only to find that less than 60,000 returned.


Paul Saperstein


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