OCPS extends school closures due to COVID-19

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced all schools in the state of Florida will close through April 15 to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

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  • | 7:00 p.m. March 17, 2020
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Students will not return to their schools until at least next month.

At press time Tuesday, March 17, Orange County Public Schools posted an update from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said K-12 public school students will not be returning to campus until Wednesday, April 15.

The move is part of a larger effort to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to monitor the situation.

DeSantis said all statewide assessments have been canceled this school year. Additionally, there will be no school grades — those grades the Florida Department of Education assigns a school — released for the 2019-20 school year. 

The closure of schools is part of an effort to keep students, teachers, personnel and families safe while also providing an opportunity for schools to undergo deep cleaning. During the closure, the district will be enhancing digital and remote learning plans where needed, Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins said in a statement.

Lorena Arias, assistant director of media relations for OCPS, said the district “is prepared to implement an instructional continuity plan in the event that temporary school closures become necessary.”

“We are a (one-to-one) digital district that allows secondary students — with internet — to access their textbook and materials online,” Arias said. “For elementary (students), there is a blended model of devices and textbooks. … Content can be delivered through our Learning Management System called Canvas, as well as our single sign-on platform with textbook resources called Launchpad. These resources will allow classroom teachers to provide continuous instruction.”

Arias added that, through the help of OCPS community partners, the district has hot spots available for any student who does not have internet access. 

“To qualify for a hot spot, a child must be a current OCPS student and (without) reliable/sufficient wireless internet (Wi-Fi) connectivity at home,” Arias said. “Schools may request hot spots for students through the district’s Curriculum and Digital Learning department.”


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