Area Superintendents hope for high attendance as COVID-19 subsides

Local News

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLA. (WMBB) — School administrators and principals from the Panhandle area met on Wednesday for the 54th annual Panhandle Area Educational Consortium.

The leadership conference was focused on positive and supportive environments for students and teachers, as schools ready for the new school year.

However, administrators are still trying to figure out how many students will be returning to school that learned from home last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re having a huge problem with attendance,” Danny Glover, the Taylor County Superintendent said. “A lot of students missed a lot last year. Some of it was due to COVID, being out with that. Some of it was because parents chose to do homeschool. And when they’re coming back, we see our test results, they’re not where we want them to be back.”

To catch up students who missed weeks of class time last year, Glover said his district intends to implement more one-on-one learning for students. Taylor County also had summer programs, Glover said.

“It’s been challenging,” Darryl Taylor, the Calhoun County Superintendent said. “And some yet to be unseen, we’re expecting a large return to students on our campus that were actually in some of our alternate options for instruction. But we’re preparing to try to deliver instruction in a mitigating safe environment as best we can.”

While Taylor expects many students to return, he is uncertain of the exact number who will be in class at the beginning of the school year. 

“That number won’t be known until the first day of school,” Taylor said.

“Through the course of the year there were quite a few students that migrated back to our campuses,” Taylor said. “But until you actually get there, the first bell rings and students do come back, you know it’ll be a best guess up until that point.”

But some principals don’t think there will be major changes.

“In the Walton County school district we really were as close to back to normal as we could be,” Todd Drake, Principal of Emerald Coast Middle School said. “Of course with the safeguards and precautions in place. And I think we’re going to continue to move into that with those safeguards and precautions.”

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