Alachua County Public Schools has sent emails, phone messages and texts to all families with information about their educational options for the fall of 2020 and a request that they select an option by July 19.
The district plans to offer families three options for educating their children when school reopens. They include the traditional, in-person, five-days-a-week model mandated by the state of Florida and two online options, including the Alachua Digital Academy and Alachua eSchool.
The Digital Academy will be online but will follow the regular school day schedule with live instruction provided by the student’s assigned teachers. This option will have to be approved by the Florida Department of Education and meet FDOE requirements.
Alachua eSchool has been in operation for nearly a decade and currently serves more than 3000 full- and part-time students. This is a much more student-directed option than the Digital Academy, with more flexibility in terms of the schedule, pace and learning style.
More information about all three options and the option form are available on the district’s Choose Your School Option website at https://www.sbac.edu/Page/29815. The site, including the option form, is mobile-friendly. It also includes a Frequently Asked Questions document with more information about the options and the reopening of schools.
The deadline to submit the option form is July 19 at 11:59 p.m. This will allow the district to plan for the reopening of schools and to meet a new state mandate.
Families are being asked to commit to their choice for the first nine weeks of school, although schools will work with families if they need to make a change. If a family does not select an option, the child will be placed in the traditional, in-person option.
A special meeting of the School Board about the reopening of schools is being scheduled for July 15. It is expected that the board will vote on some key issues at that meeting, including a policy on making masks mandatory and a later start date. The calendar approved by the School Board in February has an August 10 start date for students.
On Monday, the Florida Department of Education issued an order requiring all public schools to offer in-person instruction five days a week beginning in August. That order and subsequent communications from the state also require all districts to submit their plans for reopening schools by July 31, using a template provided on Wednesday. Those plans will have to be approved by the state, which will be reviewing them based on when they are submitted. The plans must include an estimate of the number of students who will be learning online.