WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County School Board members discussed the results of a widespread new survey on Wednesday which found that a majority of parents and staff members want the "physical" start of the upcoming school year to be delayed.
The school district said it received survey responses from more than 80,000 parents, guardians, and staff members about how they would like to see schools reopen for the 2020-21 school year.
According to the survey results, 45.8% of parents support delaying the start of the school year beyond the current start date of Monday, Aug. 10.
33.6% of parents do not support delaying the school year, and 20.6% are unsure.
Meanwhile, 59% of staff members support delaying the "physical return" to work until after Aug. 10.
READ SURVEY RESULTS:
In addition, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donald Fennoy said parents were pretty split when it came to which educational model they prefer: full-time classroom instruction, full-time distance learning at home, or a hybrid model in which students would be on campus two days a week and at home three days.
The school district said that, based on the survey results, "more than one option for reopening schools will likely be needed."
On Wednesday, Dr. Fennoy told school board members that this will be a "school year like no other."
"School as normal is not an option this year," said Fennoy. "Our campuses will look different when the new school year begins."
The superintendent added that new safety, sanitation, and social distancing guidelines will be in place for the 2020-21 school year, and distance learning will remain in place during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, including in other emergency situations when conventional teaching is not an option.
"We have important and complicated decisions to make in the best interests of all students and staff moving forward," Fennoy said.
Officials said that while the survey results will receive serious consideration, the final decisions about reopening schools will be based on a variety of factors including financial, legal, health, and other requirements.
Earlier this week, the union that represents Palm Beach County teachers said it sent a letter to the district, requesting the school year begin with virtual learning only.
The school board is expected to make a final decision about the format of the 2020-21 school year on July 15.