STUART, Fla. — The Martin County school board voted Tuesday to support delaying the start of school until Aug. 25, but the official decision is pending approval by the Martin County Education Association, which will be asked for feedback by next week's meeting.
The superintendent of the Martin County School District recommended delaying the start of the 2020-21 academic year by two weeks for students and one week for instructional staff due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The school year in Martin County was slated to begin Aug. 11.
At Tuesday's school board meeting, Superintendent Laurie Gaylord recommended delaying the start date to Aug. 25 for students.
A representative for the school district said the delay will allow the district to "continue educating students, employees and families about learning options and the risk mitigation strategies that will be in place throughout the district."
In addition, it will give staff members more time to train on virtual instruction and health and safety protocols.
Students in Martin County have two options for learning this year: in-person classroom instruction or distance learning from home.
A district representative said all enrolled students are automatically assigned to in-person classroom instruction. Parents who want to enroll their children in distance learning must complete an online commitment form by 11:59 p.m. Friday.
At Tuesday's school board meeting, education officials discussed what the distance learning format will look like for students.
A district representative said remote learning will be identical to in-person classroom instruction, in that it will follow a normal bell schedule with breaks for lunch and recess. In addition, students taking part in distance learning will be assigned to the same teachers as the in-person students.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Back To School
Martin County teachers held a protest ahead of Tuesday's meeting. The group demanded answers as to why the Florida Department of Education wants brick-and-mortar schools to reopen while COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the state.