DISTANCE LEARNING TO START, REVIEW HEALTH CONDITIONS OF PALM BEACH COUNTY ON A WEEKLY BASIS

Palm Beach County School Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy just released his school reopening plan. The School Board votes on Wednesday.

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Palm Beach County School Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy has just released his proposed “back to school plan” — just two days before the School Board is set to vote.

The plan calls for distance learning as the school year starts, but a reevaluation every week. Read the complete agenda item, below.

School Board Chairman Frank Barbieri, Jr., blasted school administrators over the weekend for having not released the plan to better explain how “distance learning” will proceed. While considered a band aid when COVID-19 first required school closures back in March, School Board members have been clear that they expect a more professional implementation when school resumes.


While considered a band aid when COVID-19 first required school closures back in March, School Board members have been clear that they expect a more professional implementation when school resumes.


BocaNewsNow.com has learned that many teachers used distance learning as a way to not show up for work — issuing assignments on Monday, then being unavailable to students for the rest of the week. The problem, according to senior administrators, was more prevalent in middle and high school classes than elementary school. That will not be permitted this year.

Palm Beach County schools are set to resume on August 10th. Teachers report several days earlier.

Here’s the specific language from the agenda item set for Wednesday’s School Board meeting:


Meeting Jul 15, 2020 – 1. VIRTUAL SPECIAL MEETING at 2 p.m. using Google Meet Technology Category 12. New Business Subject AD1 School Reopening Plan for 2020-21 in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency Type Action Recommended Action I recommend the Board approve the attached 2020-21 School Reopening Plan, including starting the school year with distance learning for all students and allowing for a phased return to brick and mortar in-person instruction when county health conditions permit, and delegate to Superintendent the authority to implement this plan as necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of students and employees. 

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DESCRIPTION:

Palm Beach County remains in Phase 1 of Florida’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan and is currently experiencing a significant rise in COVID-19 cases.  Our county’s current Phase 1 status necessitates the 2020-21 school year open with a distance learning virtual instructional model.  The Superintendent’s Health Advisory Committee concluded this public health emergency and community spread of the virus simply does not allow for a normal reopening of brick and mortar schools.  The School Reopening Plan is based upon four guiding principles outlined by the Reopening Task Force (RTF):

  •  Protect students, staff, and community health and safety.
  •  Provide a world-class education with excellence and equity.
  •  Foster student emotional health and wellbeing.
  •  Ensure equity for vulnerable and underrepresented populations.

These principles, along with feedback garnered from School Board Members, parents, employees and other stakeholders, provided the foundation for the 2020-21 School Reopening Plan. 

This plan calls for the School District to begin the school year in a virtual distance learning environment with a phased return to brick and mortar classrooms when public health conditions permit.  Health conditions will be reevaluated on a weekly basis to determine when a phased or staged return is possible. 
 

The plan also addresses safety measures including social distancing, the wearing of personal protective equipment, washing of hands, food service, and enhanced cleaning measures.  While this plan calls for a return to brick and mortar in-person instruction when our community reaches Phase 2 of the recovery after meeting the key health metrics, the District must also be prepared to pivot back to distance learning should conditions deteriorate due to a subsequent wave of outbreaks. 

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CONTACT:

Ed Tierney, Chief of Staff (edward.tierney@palmbeachschools.org)

Keith Oswald, Deputy Superintendent/Chief of Schools (keith.oswald@palmbeachschools.org)

Glenda Sheffield, Ed.D., Chief Academic Officer (glenda.sheffield@palmbeachschools.org)

FINANCIAL IMPACT:

The District’s FY21 Budget has been developed to anticipate additional costs associated with COVID-19.  Multiple funds are impacted including General Fund Operating Budget, Capital Projects, and Special Revenue including Food Service and Federal CARES Act funds. 

Strategic Themes (choose all that apply):

X 1. Effective and relevant instruction to meet the needs of all students.

X 2. Positive and Supportive School Climate

X 3. Talent Development

X 4. High-Performance Culture

Long-Term Outcomes (choose all that apply):

X 1. Increase reading on grade level by 3rd grade.

X 2. Ensure high school readiness.

X 3. Increase the high school graduation rate.

X 4. Foster Post-graduate success.

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