DeLand, FL - Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an order on Monday that public schools will reopen in August and offer "the full panoply of services" to students and families. Volusia United Educators President Elizabeth Albert disagrees. "If you want to grandstand and you want to pontificate using all of your multi-syllabic words then I guess that's great. However, I'm all about the work of what's reasonable and feasible for our children and our educational professionals."
Under the order, all public schools are required to be open in August for at least five days a week with a full array of services provided as required by law. This includes in-person instruction and services for students with special needs. Albert says that the order does reference a waiver for the number of days, which is 180, that schools are required to operate by Florida law but she says some of the language in the order seems contrary to that statement.
Albert's biggest concern is the usurping of local control by outside entities, such as Commissioner Corcoran and Governor Ron DeSantis. She said that each district should make the decisions and plans on reopening. "I believe that among that group we can absolutely do this work but we have to be free from encumbrances from outside entities to get this done correctly for Volusia County."
At this time, Volusia County schools are scheduled to open on August 17, close on August 18 so that some schools can be used as polling places for Florida's primary election, and then reopen on August 19.
Corcoran's order also says that school districts and charter-school governing boards are required to submit reopening plans to the Department of Education showing how all schools plan to fully reopen and offer all services to students. The Volusia County School Board is holding a special meeting on July 15 to do just that.