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Palm Beach County sending technology survey ahead of potential coronavirus impact

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Posted at 11:03 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 15:11:20-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The School District of Palm Beach County wants to gauge how prepared families are in case schools need to close to protect students and staff from the coronavirus.

A district spokesperson said a short technology survey will be sent to all principals to share with parents in the near future.

The survey will ask parents about their family's access to WiFi at home, should learning have to happen remotely or with digital instruction.

"Every child is entitled to equal access to high quality education," said Claudia Shea, Director of Communications and Engagement for the School District of Palm Beach County.

Shea said the district sends out surveys regularly, however this is the first one with a technology focus.

Shea added the information in the survey can be used if schools need to switch to remote classes for an illness outbreak or hurricane.

The district may also use their television channels to get information out to students in the event that the district ever decides to educate students remotely, Shea said.

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In a separate survey, one parent whose children go to Franklin Academy in Palm Beach Gardens said she received an email and text message from that school with a link to its own survey.

Franklin Academy is not a district school.

The email read, in part, "We are also preparing for the possibility that officials could order school closures at some point."

According to the email, the school is creating a business continuity plan "and if directives are given, we plan to ensure that students continue their schooling from home if the need arises. This is a precautionary measure only."

The Franklin Academy survey asks parents, among other things, about their internet, WiFi, and mobile hotspot capabilities, what kind of digital devices they have at home, and do those devices have a camera and microphone.

The survey does not address whether parents have any child care options in place.

RELATED: Palm Beach County schools preparing for coronavirus through enhanced sanitizing

A district spokesperson can't confirm a timeline for when the Palm Beach County School District survey will go out.

To see the Franklin Academy survey, click here.