Washington County School District to possibly delay start of school

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)–As the school year inches closer and closer, panhandle districts have different plans for their students. In Washington County, there’s a variety of options to choose from when it comes to returning to school this August. As of right now, the district’s first day is set for August 12th, but that may change.

The Washington County School Board will be holding a special board meeting on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. to discuss delaying the district’s start date. Superintendent, Joseph Taylor, believes delaying the start of school will allow staff to better prepare for the year.

“We also have to be prepared and equipped should the Governor come back and say ‘you can’t go back for x number of days’ and so we have to have a framework in place for anything,” said Taylor.

On Wednesday, the school board will discuss delaying the start date until August 19th or the 26th. Taylor says the district’s biggest challenge right now is being rural.

“How do we reach out to those students, how do we take care and make certain that everyone is provided for?” said Taylor.

The school district is offering 5 options for students.

“Truthfully, 4 of those have always existed. The homeschool option has always been there, the virtuals that we have, the franchises have always been there, the Florida Virtual has always been there,” said Taylor.

The district’s newest platform is their ‘Innovative Learning Environment’ which will allow students to enroll in their home zoned school and learn via the internet using school-based resources.

“This one we are going to allow movement back and forth. We wouldn’t recommend it but at the same time we’re not saying ‘oh you must do this’ because things can change,” said Taylor.

The district did administer a survey to gauge the interest in virtual schooling v.s. brick and mortar. Taylor says about 68% of families are leaning towards the virtual option with most of those families being from the southern part of the county.

As for masks, at this time they will not be required in Washington County schools.

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