The Florida Department of Education has ordered all public and charter schools to reopen brick-and-mortar buildings at least five days per week this fall -- unless there are any health or executive orders issued to the contrary.
The decision would ensure all students have the option to do traditional learning if they choose. Many districts plan to offer virtual learning options for students who don't wish to return to regular classes in August.
In an emergency order, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran explained his goals were to have the full collection of school services available to Florida students and families, eliminate achievement gaps that may have been exacerbated by the pandemic and maintain services for low-income students, those learning English and for students with disabilities.
The in-person option must be on the table in Florida schools unless health leaders reach a point where they say in-person learning is no longer safe, according to the state.
"...school districts and charter school governing boards must provide the full array of services that are required by law so that families who wish to educate their children in a brick and mortar school full time have the opportunity to do so," Corcoran wrote.
The state is also ordering school districts to immediately begin working to identify students who may have "regressed" during school closures and determine what services they might need this year.
Florida says districts and schools wishing to offer innovative alternatives during the state of emergency must submit plans to the state. Any districts or schools that wish to open as usual won't need to submit plans.
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