Don’t expect Florida students to go back to school this year. But that’s okay. | Editorial

Don’t expect Florida students to go back to school this year. But that’s okay. | Editorial

Landon Rancke, left, and his big brother, Ryan Rancke work together to set up a computer for online learning. Both are students in the Pinellas County school system. [Courtesy of Kristin Rancke] It’s about time for Florida to acknowledge that its students probably won’t be going back to traditional classrooms this year. While education commissioner Richard Corcoran directed superintendents this week to keep campuses closed until May 1 , the trend lines of coronavirus make it unlikely that schools will stop being virtual until the new school year begins in August. What this means is that teachers, students, parents and administrators should buckle up and prepare to work out the kinks in virtual school and use it as an opportunity for innovation . Florida has approached the coronavirus like one might approach any seemingly insurmountable task: one step at a time. That strategy has engendered significant criticism from those who say it is not nearly fast enough. Being careful is key, but so is being realistic. The decision to keep schools closed until May 1 , following President Donald Trump’s decision to extend social distancing guidelines until April 30, came on the same day as teachers and students began their foray into online learning . Many felt like they wanted some certainty for the rest of the year. “We’re probably not going back to school,” said the head of Hillsborough’s teachers union, Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins . “Let’s just settle into it. It seems to me we’re delaying making a call on the inevitable, and people would have more comfort if they knew.” Learning how to learn online is clearly a work in progress for many teachers, students and families. Monday marked the first day of online learning for various counties across the state, including Pinellas and Hillsborough . But problems […]

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