Published On: Thu, Jul 9th, 2020

Palm Beach County Schools Plan To Remain Closed

As the summer comes to an end, Palm Beach County school board members are making plans for parents and students to prepare for virtual learning next month. 

On Wednesday, board members held a workshop to discuss plans to remain closed amid the risk of student’s exposure to the coronavirus as cases continue to surge throughout the state.

The Palm Beach County school superintendent and board members agree that schools should not open next month and students will continue learning from home when classes resume on August 10th. Photo courtesy of WPEC.

Families and teachers alike are struggling nationwide to determine how to reopen after President Trump threatened to withhold federal funding if they don’t have students return back to campuses in the fall.  

Despite the state order, Palm Beach County unanimously agreed to not reopen schools next month in order to ensure the safety of more than 174,000 students. The district will continue to use virtual remote instruction that will begin on Aug 10. 

According to Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran, a new state emergency order requires all students to have the option of a traditional school calendar. Although if the plans are found to be unsafe, the requirement may be waived by local or state health departments. 

In addition to following state and local health officials directive, Florida’s 67 school districts must abide by the executive orders issued by Governor Ron DeSantis. He and Corcoran are urging local officials to reopen the schools in August, regardless of COVID-19 cases rising according to reports from the Florida Department of Health.

School administrators and officials are figuring out measures to prevent having students go back into crowded classrooms and hallways. Many schools are looking into hiring more custodial staff but are still uncertain about the budget they will receive in the fall. 

There is a possibility that teachers will be able to use their SMART Board and materials by going into their classrooms several days a week in order to teach children at home.

According to the director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, Dr. Alina Alonso told county commissioners on Wednesday that over 3,000 children under 18 years of age have all tested positive for the virus. 

That is not the only obstacle the district faces, according to the Palm Beach Post they also must decide whether to lay off bus drivers, mechanics, and other employees now that daily operations will take place at home. 

Other concerns about learning from home include children with special needs lacking adequate supervision and those who depend on meals. In addition, to students who may not log in to their computers on a daily basis. 

According to WPTV the president of the palm beach county Classroom teachers association, Justin Katz said in the upcoming weeks the district will lead professional development training sessions for teachers. The hope is that the training will have teachers more prepared than they were in March when classes abruptly moved online. 

In addition, the school district plans to make WiFi more available to students by distributing more than 82,000 laptops throughout the district, a spokesperson said.

An official decision on how to start classes is set to be made by superintendent Donald Fennoy and the school board on July 15. 

About the Author

- I am a senior at Florida Atlantic University majoring in Multimedia Studies with a concentration in Journalism and minor in Communications. I am a Newsroom Writer for the Boca Raton Tribune who strives to use my passion for writing not only to inform the public of current events but to encourage and empower the community to enact change.

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