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Palm Beach County School Board Approves Aug. 31 School Start Date

Wilkine Brutus screen shot

The Palm Beach County School Board unanimously approved a plan yesterday to start the academic year Monday, Aug. 31. Chairman Frank Barbieri says this benefits students, parents and employees.

"The templates of the plan need to be submitted to the Florida Department of Education by July 31st,” Barbieri said.

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In a marathon meeting last week that lasted 10 hours, Superintendent Donald Fennoy’s plan also called for the district’s 174,000 students to start the academic year with distance learning.

Despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call to reopen schools, amid rising COVID-19 cases while advocating for parental choice, Fennoy’s plan still calls for a staggered return to in-person instruction when COVID-19 cases drop significantly and when the county is ready to move into phase two of the state’s reopening plan.

The county’s academic year was slated to begin Aug. 10, but was delayed after board member Barbara McQuinn proposed an amendment to delay reopening school to "to give teachers more time to prepare for virtual teaching" and parents and students more time to make arrangements.

Families have already received, via email, the 52-page presentation for school reopening. The board says they’re still working through logistical challenges and expectations.

Wilkine Brutus is a reporter and producer for WLRN and a guest faculty member at the Poynter Institute. The South Florida native produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs.