Opting Out Not An Option, But Unclear What Penalty, If Any, Could Apply
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Disregarding high infection counts in Palm Beach County Schools, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Secretary Richard Corcoran are ordering that FSA’s — Florida’s Standardized Test — to be taken in person this year.
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The mandate applies to all students in grades 3 and higher. It applies to in-person students and those taking part in distance learning.
The Palm Beach County School District reports 2,479 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday evening. More than half have been recorded since school resumed in January, following winter break.
Palm Beach County School District Spokesperson Claudia Shea tells BocaNewsNow.com that the test will be given over several days to ensure social distancing, but there is no immediate information about how children — who are not signed up for school district transportation or other in person services — will get to school or what they’ll do once they are there. Schools are having issues with social distancing at half capacity. Requiring all students to attend for testing may prove impossible if CDC guidelines are followed.
There was also no immediate response to a question about parents opting out. Under Florida law, “opting out” is not permitted, but it’s unclear what action could be taken against parents who cite medical reasons for keeping children home.
The decision is not Palm Beach County’s. It is a mandate from Gov. DeSantis and his education commissioner.
The test is set for the Spring with dates to be announced. Already teachers are saying parents should opt out by sending a letter to their child’s principal and refusing to send the child to school. Some teachers claim the standardized test results are meaningless.
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