Southside Elementary School

Southside Elementary School

Image: Jenny Acheson

Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran this week issued an executive order requiring schools to reopen this fall, despite the current surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the state Florida. The order states that schools must prepare to open physical buildings in August; that students must attend school for at least five days a week and a minimum 180 days per year (or hourly equivalent); that schools must offer a full panoply of services as required by law; that students' progress must be monitored and reported regularly to the Florida Department of Education (DOE); that students with IEPs, disabilities and English Language Learners must be given the services necessary to continue their education; and that public, private and charter schools must submit reopening plans to their respective school districts.

However, the order does allow local health officials to override it if they deem schools unsafe to reopen due to COVID-19. However, if schools choose to move to a remote learning system, they must provide the same number of instructional hours, content and teacher interaction; provide the full range of services to students with disabilities, English Language learners and those with IEPs; and regularly share monitoring and progress data.

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