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Monroe Schools To Offer Full-Time On Campus Learning For All Students March 29

The mascot of Horace O'Bryant school in key West is a buccaneer statue, which is wearing a mask in this image.
Nancy Klingener
Horace O'Bryant School in Key West has students in 6th-8th grades who will have the option of attending school on campus every day, starting March 29.

Last year, Spring Break marked the divide for Monroe County public schools between going to classes on campus and learning from home.

This year, it will mark the return of full-time, on-campus learning for all grade levels. Tuesday, the district announced plans that March 29 is the day when middle and high school students can opt to return to campus every day.

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Since September, pre-K through fifth-graders have been attending school on campus every day. But most middle and high school students have been on an alternating schedule, where they are in school buildings one day, and learning from home the next.

Last week, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran wrote to Monroe Schools Superintendent Theresa Axford, saying it had been "brought to our attention that Monroe County Public Schools may not be fully complying" with his executive order requiring all districts to provide in-person classes to all students at least five days a week.

He proposed that Monroe County make that change by March 15.

Superintendent Theresa Axford replied, noting that the district had been consulting with the local office of the state Department of Health — as provided for in Corcoran's order. She asked that the district have until March 29, when classes resume after the scheduled Spring Break March 22 through 26.

That would also give the district more time to cope with an outbreak of COVID-19 in the district's Upper Keys transportation office, where 12 of 18 staffers have been forced to quarantine because of a positive test or exposure to someone who tested positive.

Parents of public school students in Monroe have been asked to fill out a survey, reporting whether they want their child to return to school every day, or remain on the alternating schedule.

Those who are now attending full-time virtual school will have the option to continue doing that, or return to campus full-time.

The survey is available on the district's website in English, Spanish and Creole. Paper copies will also be available at schools where there are grades 6 through 12. According to the website, the survey is due March 15, "or current schedule remains in place."

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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