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More Leon County Parents To Send Their Kids To In-Person Classes In November

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Lynn Hatter
/
WFSU News

Leon County School District Superintendent Rocky Hanna is expecting another 3,700 students to return to the classroom when the second grading period begins on Nov. 3rd. He held a briefing Monday to give an update on how the district has adjusted to remote learning and holding in- person instruction at the same time. At the beginning of the school year, 45% of students were in-school while the other 55% stayed home and chose to take classes remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whether students were in our classrooms physically or remote from home, we were positioned well to provide a high [quality] education wherever they were,” said Hanna.

The window for parents to decide whether to send their children to school in-person or stay remote closed on Oct. 9. Now 55% of students will be learning in person while the other 45% will continue with remote education.

The number of students planning to arrive in-person is closer to 50% at Sabal Palm Elementary School, said Principal Anisha Robinson.

“Our students are still able to have a school experience while maintaining the social distance and that is one of the main things we wanted to make sure happened. They’re participating in activities and safely having lunch in the cafeteria,” said Robinson.

Robinson said her teachers and parents are doing a “great job” at adjusting to the changes brought about because of the pandemic.

The district’s long-awaited Google Chromebooks are also scheduled to arrive this week. Leon County Schools ordered more than 30,000 of the devices, but shipping had been delayed due to low inventory and high demand. Hanna said he’s planning to make an announcement regarding the distribution of those devices later this week.

During the 17-minute update, Hanna also briefed the public on the status of the coronavirus in schools. Since the start of the school year, 70 students and fewer than 40 employees have tested positive for Covid-19. That’s triggered hundreds of students into quarantine due to exposure, something Hanna said was expected.

Assistant Superintendent Gillian Gregory touched briefly on what’s become a point of contention—teachers trying to teach students in-person and remotely at the same time.

“Some classes are done hybrid where some students are in person while others are at home but they are both being taught by the same instructor and that has been very successful for teachers,” she said.

Gregory thanked teachers for their work. Some have expressed frustration with the hybrid model.

The district has made adjustments to the school calendar after adding a teacher work/training day. Students were originally slated to return Nov. 2nd.

“Is it perfect? No,” Hanna said of the circumstances teachers, families and students are trying to navigate. “Every single day we get a little bit better. And with our devices arriving, it’s going to make things better. So, for those parents and families still at home, everything is fine. We’re meeting you in that space.”