PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — In St. Lucie County, 40% of the school district's families who opted for virtual school can expect to see some differences in how the virtual school will operate in the fall compared to the spring.
When St. Lucie County Public Schools implemented virtual school at the end of the 2019-20 school year, district leaders allowed a lot of flexibility for when schoolwork could be completed.
For the start of the 2020-21 school year, students will be expected to follow a regular school schedule.
Attendance will be taken and students can be marked as tardy if they do not log onto virtual school on time.
SPECIAL SECTION: Back to School
"It's not as flexible in terms of what time they do their work," explained Dr. Helen Wild, chief academic officer for St. Lucie County schools. "They have to do their work as if they were in class."
All students will have their own laptops instead of being asked to share a laptop within their household to make the stricter school schedule possible.
Teachers will be reporting back to brick-and-mortar school, regardless of if they are teaching virtually or in front of a class.
"We will have some teachers (who) will be teaching a complete traditional schedule with all face-to-face, and then we will have other teachers who are teaching a full virtual schedule," Wild said. "They will be reporting to school, they will be there, but they will have all of their classes online."
Families will still recognize the programs students will log onto for virtual school. They used Teams and Canvas during the spring.
They will log in to each of their individual classes at the pace of a normal school day.
Instead of walking to a new classroom, they will just select their next teacher or subject.
"Just as if they were in school, the very next period, they would log onto their next class and see the next teacher's plans for the day," Wild said.
Teachers also will be able to watch their students through Teams and have tools to make sure they are focused and even not cheating.
Students will still be able to work in groups and receive one-on-one help from their teacher if needed.
This plan, Wild said, gives students structure and an easy transition, eventually, back to brick-and-mortar school.