Polk County Public Schools has released its Instructional Continuity Plan, which details how learning will continue for the district’s students while schools remain closed through April 15 in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
“I commend my staff for their diligent work on this plan. For weeks, they have carefully considered the dynamics of our district: our English Language Learners, our students with special needs, and the areas of the county where internet access is scarce. They have carefully crafted this plan to ensure students continue receiving a high-quality education even during these very challenging times,” said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.
Staff and parents are encouraged to begin familiarizing themselves with the plan over spring break, March 23-27. Distance learning will begin for PCPS students after spring break. Students will be held accountable for participation and their work will be graded.
Recognizing the diversity within the school district, the ICP includes three options for teachers, who will have the autonomy to pick the learning format that best suits their students and courses. These options include creating their own digital and/or paper-based instructional materials; using district-recommended digital material; and at the elementary level, using district-developed paper-based materials.
The ICP also includes adaptations for English Language Learners and students with special needs, including those on modified curriculum/access points, as well as options for pre-kindergarten students.
Teachers are being asked to reach out to their students — via email, phone or other communication applications — to further explain how learning will continue for their classes while schools are closed. Parents may also contact their schools for additional information after spring break.
PCPS has also created an online resource center for teachers that includes information on topics such as taking attendance and communicating with parents and students in an online environment, managing virtual office hours, and online options for their professional development.
To facilitate online learning, PCPS will be deploying 60,000 devices to students after spring break. High school seniors and eighth-graders — who need credits to graduate and be promoted to high school, respectively — will be given first priority. Only one device will be issued per family.
While preparing for learning to resume on March 30, PCPS is taking every precaution to protect its staff. Following the FLDOE’s orders, all school buildings will remain closed through April 15. All employees will return to work in some form on March 30, but employees may report to a different venue or follow a different schedule to ensure the district continues to abide by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s social-distancing guidelines.
Employees will receive additional communication prior to March 30 about their work venues and schedules.