Polk County Public Schools School Board members received an initial look at parents’ intentions for the 2020-21 school year during the board’s work session on Tuesday.
As the district prepares to reopen schools amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is offering families three learning options:
- Returning to school in a face-to-face, brick-and-mortar format
- Campus eSchool, which allows students to remain enrolled in their current school but take part in highly structured virtual learning
- Polk Virtual, a longstanding program that allows students the ability to fulfill their K-12 educational requirements entirely online
The district asked parents to select their desired learning format by completing an online form. The data collected will help PCPS plan for the upcoming school year, ensuring it has enough staff members assigned to each learning option.
The parent survey originally was set to close on July 27. That deadline has now been extended to 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 2.
Approximately 55,000 parents have completed the form thus far. PCPS has an enrollment of 89,797, not including charter school students. Charter schools are developing their own reopening plans.
Acting Chief Academic Officer Michelle Townley presented initial results of the parent form to the School Board. Of those who have responded:
- 46 percent have selected campus learning
- 45 percent of families have selected Campus eSchool
- 9 percent have selected Polk Virtual
The district also asked employees about their preferences for the upcoming school year. Employees could select from the following options:
- Face-to-face assignment
- Polk Virtual assignment
- Campus eSchool assignment
- Equally comfortable with a face-to-face assignment, Polk Virtual assignment or Campus eSchool assignment
Of 5,977 teachers who completed the online questionnaire, 38.1 percent prefer a face-to-face assignment, 29.1 percent are equally comfortable with any type of assignment, 27.7 prefer a Campus eSchool assignment, and approximately 5.1 percent of respondents prefer a Polk Virtual assignment.
The employee questionnaire closed on July 27. However, the School Board decided to give employees until 5 p.m. on Thursday (July 30) to change their preference if they wish. More details will be sent to employees.
District staff will now begin reconciling the parent and employee data to assign teachers to the three learning options. More information will come from the district’s Human Resources Services department as the reopening of school, currently set for Aug. 24, nears.
Of the 5,446 non-teachers who responded to the employee questionnaire: 49.2 are equally comfortable with a face-to-face or remote assignment; 38.7 prefer a face-to-face assignment; and 12.2 percent prefer an alternate remote assignment.
More information on the district’s reopening plan is available on the district’s reopening webpage and the district’s social media accounts, both of which are updated regularly as more information becomes available.
Video from today’s School Board work session. Skip to 2:33:30 to watch the discussion about the survey results.