WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County parents on Monday can start logging into their child’s online portal to make their choice for how their kids will learn during the second semester of the school year, which begins on Feb. 2.
Parents can choose distance learning or in-person learning as before, but this time, thousands of parents will see a letter informing them that their child is not making adequate progress doing distance learning and it is recommended they come back to campus.
Part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order on education for 2021 requires school districts make sure parents know if their child is not achieving academic progress and to provide options.
The School District of Palm Beach County said about 25% of distance learning students fall into that category. That breaks down to about 10,000 elementary school students, 3,800 middle school students, and about 8,000 at the high school level.
If a parent receives notification that their child is not making adequate academic progress, but chooses to continue distance learning, they must provide written acknowledgment of the situation. Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy said on Dec. 18 that the district is prepared, from a safety standpoint, to welcome these students back to campus.
“The goal is to make sure all students reach their full potential and our district is taking every opportunity to make sure our students are being educated in as safe of an environment as possible,” Fennoy said.
“Our schools have been working hard to get a number of our students back to brick-and-mortar where we can provide a better environment, and you also heard Dr. Fennoy mention, our schools are safe,” Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald said. “The mitigation strategies we’ve put in place, secondary transmissions as verified by the Department of Health, is not happening in our classrooms except in a few isolated events with athletics.”
Oswald said that struggling students are facing consequences like failing to go onto the next grade, GPAs that are falling below a 2-point average, or even the possibility of not graduating on time.
“It’s essential for any parent in distance learning to go into the portal, go into the make your choice tile to see, if you are not sure if your child is making adequate progress you can reach out to your child’s school,” Oswald said.
The portal will be open for one week, until Jan. 11, for parents to make their decision.
“We’re going to keep everything as is so my younger one is still going to keep going to school like he has been,” said parent Gina Shrestha. “Nothing is changing there, and my older one is going to continue to be virtual.”
Shrestha said her oldest son in high school has really benefited from distance learning.
“He’s got a lot of work. He’s also studying for SATs, so he’s just trying to make the most out of his time,” Shrestha said.
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