STUART, Fla. — Students are just weeks away from wrapping up an unprecedented first semester of school.
The Martin County School Board on Tuesday started laying out the plan for what the second semester of school will look like as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Following the state's order requiring schools to remain open and increase oversight into students' success at home with remote learning, the school board discussed how to move forward.
Martin County will follow the order and continue to give families the option to choose whether to send students to school in-person or remotely.
However, this semester schools will be doing more to make sure the achievement gap does not grow between students who are learning at home compared to those at school.
School staff said students at home, on average, have had lower attendance and lower grades.
If students begin to fail at home or show no signs of progress, they may be required to go to school in person.
"But, of course, the parent will have the final say with that," Superintendent Dr. John Millay said.
Millay stressed that school leaders will work with individual families and students to find ways to help them succeed at home before asking them to return to school in person.
"Bottom line, I think if a parent knows their child is not getting the education they need at home, we're going to have to come up with a solution," Millay said. "We have several solutions where we can keep kids safe. The schools have been safe."
The district has until Dec.15 to send their second-semester plan to the state.
Parent Deanna Lubahn said she will continue to send her three children to school during the second semester.
"Routine is so important for kids," she said.
While her high school student had to quarantine at one point during the year, she said she still feels safe sending her daughter to school.
"She actually didn't like [remote learning]," Lubahn said. "It wasn't as easy to learn."
The Martin County School District is hosting a "Parents University" Zoom session Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss the district's response to COVID-19.