INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — All Florida public and private K-12 schools will continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday at a news conference.
This means campuses will remain closed for the duration of the 2019-2020 academic year. The decision to continue distance learning, or virtual learning from home, was made in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’ve got pretty good momentum for the distance learning,” DeSantis said. “It’s not the ideal situation, but given where we are in the school year, we felt that was the best decision to go forward.”
Today, @GovRonDeSantis and Commissioner of Education @richardcorcoran recommended that all Florida public and private K-12 schools continue distance learning and keep school campuses closed through the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. #FLedu #COVID19 #distancelearning pic.twitter.com/GShs93foSs
— Florida Department of Education (@EducationFL) April 18, 2020
“Today, it was announced that Florida schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year,” School District of Indian River County Superintendent David Moore said in a Twitter post. “The school district will continue to support the ongoing learning of our students.”
Today, it was announced that Florida schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year. @IRCSchools will continue to support the ongoing learning of our students. #SDIRCStrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/3sXJ6kHUtO
— Dr. David K. Moore (@SDIRC_SUP) April 18, 2020
In March, the Florida Department of Education announced the cancellation of spring state assessments. This means campuses gained back instructional time, allowing local districts and schools to still end the academic year based on local calendars.
The school district, along with other learning institutions in the county and state, have continued to educate students using online instruction. School officials gave out laptops to pupils so they can participate in the district’s instructional provision plan.
It was unclear how the decision to continue distance learning for the rest of the school year would impact graduation for high school seniors.
The Florida Education Association previously gathered thousands of online petition signatures urging DeSantis to keep schools closed. The association noted there could be potential damage to families and communities if there was a COVID-19 outbreak at a school.
“The most important thing right now is keeping Floridians as safe and healthy as we possibly can, especially Florida’s students and educators,” the association said in the petition, garnering nearly 37,000 signatures.
Campuses in Florida have been shut down since March 16 because of coronavirus public health concerns.
Schools were originally supposed to close for one week. That was later extended to April 15, then to May 1, and now to the end of the school year.
Local staff have worked to provide students with meals during the closings. School officials continue to meet with parents and students to provide assistance with online learning.