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Palm Beach County school officials discuss closures, remote learning

Coronavirus forces 'digital distance learning'
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Posted at 9:54 AM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 18:47:47-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — School officials in Palm Beach County addressed their plans on Wednesday to transition to remote learning now that all public and private K-12 schools in Florida will be closed through April 15 due to concerns over the coronavirus.

"I want to ensure you that we are all in this together," said Palm Beach County Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy. "Our district has a comprehensive remote learning plan in place, and we will institute digital distance learning."

On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Education announced that all K-12 public and private schools in Florida, including career and technical center campuses, will be closed through April 15 and students will switch to remote learning instead.

School officials said Palm Beach County students will be able to access digital lessons from home, follow a suggested daily learning schedule, and watch both live and recorded lessons.

"We have three different options that will be available," said Glenda Sheffield, the Chief Academic Officer for the district. "The first option is our teacher-led instruction, and that's where our teachers would be utilizing Google Classroom."

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The other two delivery options for remote learning will be recorded lessons via the district's website and television channel.

School officials said teachers will return on March 30 following Spring Break, and "teachers who are able to utilize Google Classroom will begin to roll out direct instruction, but other methods will be used for teachers who are not using Google Classroom."

To learn more about the remote learning programs for Palm Beach County students, click here.

Parents and students who have questions can also call the School District of Palm Beach County at 561-969-5840.

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State officials said school districts should be prepared to extend their educational calendars through June 30.

In addition, all VPK and K-12 assessments are canceled for the 2019-2020 school year, and K-12 school grades will not be calculated.

"Parents will have the option to keep children in the same grade in 2021 if they choose," said Dr. Fennoy.

The superintendent added that graduation requirements are being re-evaluated to make up for testing that doesn't take place.

"It will be as though the assessments, which were canceled, do not exist," said Dr. Fennoy.

Dr. Fennoy said all district employees continue to be on payroll. Some employees will perform duties remotely, while others will report to schools and facilities.

For the latest information about coronavirus cases in Florida, click here.