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Public schools in Florida must reopen in August, state says

Executive order calls for 'brick and mortar schools' to be open at least 5 days per week
Empty school desks graphic
Posted at 8:01 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 22:03:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Public schools in Florida will be required to reopen in August.

That's according to an executive order issued Monday by Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

Under the order, "all school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students, subject to advice and orders of the Florida Department of Health" and local health departments.

READ THE EXECUTIVE ORDER:

School districts must also provide "the full array of services that are required by law so that families who wish to educate their children in a brick and mortar school have the opportunity to do so."

Under the order, school districts must submit their reopening plans to the Florida Department of Education.

The School District of Palm Beach County recently released the results of a survey polling parents and employees about their preferences for a return to school amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of those surveyed said they wanted to delay the start of the 2020-21 school year. A vote on the matter by the school board is expected next week.

Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy told WPTV in May that the district was "not going to dismantle our distance learning" in the fall.

The order does seem to allow some flexibility for families or children with underlying medical conditions.

"Although it is anticipated that most students will return to full-time brick and mortar schools, some parents will continue their child's education through innovative learning environments, often due to the medical vulnerability of the child or another family member who resides in the same household," the order stated.

The School District of Palm Beach County told WPTV that it hopes to have more clarity on the order after a planned meeting Tuesday with the Florida Department of Education.