BARTOW, FL — As school districts across the state of Florida plan to reopen classrooms for traditional learning in August, Polk County Public Schools plans to offer virtual learning options as an alternative for the upcoming school year as coronavirus concerns linger.
The school district's instructional subcommittee is working on two online learning options for Polk County students. Students also have the choice of returning face-to-face to the classroom.
For option one, the district would expand capacity in Polk Virtual School for families who prefer their children participate in virtual learning, the Polk County School District said in a news release.
Virtual learning is a style of learning that doesn't require attendance in the classroom, and all classwork is done through online courses offered through Polk Virtual School. Regular online attendance is required just as it is mandatory in face-to-face learning.
Option two would allow students to remain enrolled in their school and pursue distance learning from their school. The instructional subcommittee is exploring how to provide the second option, and they will provide details of distance learning when it is complete.
Acting Chief Academic Officer Michelle Townley said the smaller teams would have until July 8 to compile their research and recommendations.
The school district decided to provide these options after receiving parent feedback that expressed many parents are not comfortable sending their children back to school during the coronavirus pandemic.
Other Tampa Bay counties that plan to offer virtual learning for students is Pasco County and Manatee County. Hillsborough County will release a survey to parents on July 1, and decide from there about virtual learning options. Pinellas County Schools have a meeting scheduled on July 14 to discuss their reopening options.
The instructional subcommittee's first discussion about the virtual learning option models here.