No more movement to distance learning in St. Johns unless students have ‘high-risk health factor,’ district says

Classroom consistency - St. Johns County dropping distance learning

ST. JOHNS COUNTY - Fla. — Superintendent of the St. Johns County School District, Tim Forson, says the district will no longer move students to school-based distance learning unless they have a unique high-risk health factor.

Parents will be surveyed before the end of the first grading period on their plans to send their students back to school in person.

Forson says high mobility of students has made things difficult for in-person and distance learning.

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He says they originally asked parents to decide in July how their students would be learning, but they’ve allowed movement in the first five weeks. Forson says they can no longer support the movement to school-based distance learning.

The district says it will always accept students going back to school in person, though it may take some time for transition them back into the classroom.

Read the full statement from Forson below:

"Dear Parents and Guardians,

"Thank you for your support and understanding as we have navigated this school year. We understand the COVID-19 virus has impacted our lives in ways we could not have predicted. As we progress into the school year, it has become evident that consistency in each class is imperative. We have allowed considerable movement between brick and mortar and school-based distance learning classes up to this point.

"Now that we are past the first interim reporting period, we will no longer move students to school-based distance learning unless there is a unique high-risk health factor for a student. Prior to the end of the first grading period we will survey parents of distance learning students on their intent to return to the brick and mortar setting.

"The high mobility of students this year has negatively impacted both the brick and mortar and school-based distance learning instruction. We asked for all parents to decide by July 17th which instructional learning model their child would use, though we have allowed continual movement through the first five weeks of school. At this time, we can no longer support movement to school-based distance learning. We will always accept the return of students to campus for brick and mortar instruction although it may take some time to transition them back. In addition, students who enrolled in St. Johns Virtual School are expected to remain in this option at least until the semester ends in January.

"As we move forward, students who are quarantined under the direction of the St. Johns County Health Department may be given academic assignments either through Schoology access or by some other communication from the teacher.

"The demand on the classroom teacher is far greater than should be expected. The teachers are doing amazing work, but it is increasingly more difficult to manage both platforms throughout the entire day. To provide the best instructional experience for your child, we need more consistency and fewer changes.

“Finally, I want to thank you for supporting your child’s academic progress and school this year. We understand the impact of the COVID-19 virus extends well beyond the school, and we appreciate your commitment to ensuring a safe school for all students.”