VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Volusia County Parents and teachers alike are upset after an update from the district about the Volusia Live schooling option. The district informed parents that students with grades below a C will need to return to brick and mortar learning.
What You Need To Know
- Volusia Live students with a single grade below a C will have to return to a brick-and-mortar school
- 67 percent of middle school Volusia Live students and 65 percent of high schoolers have at least on D or F
- Parents and teachers worry the plan could put students and educators at risk
“It is a very very big concern for all of us,” said Volusia United Educators President Elizabeth Albert.
Albert claims she and other teachers were shocked to hear about the decision.
“I don’t know that anyone is in a position to tell a parent during a worldwide health pandemic that you have to do X-Y-Z with their student," said Albert.
The Chairman of the Volusia School Board explained they decided to reach out to parents after seeing the midterm grades of students using the Volusia Live model.
“We learned that a high number of students who were enrolled inn our live classes were in fact not doing well,” said Chairman Carl Persis.
According to a school district spokesperson, 67 percent of middle school students enrolled in the live option and 65 percent of high school students have at least one D or F grade.
“If it is not working then something needs to change,” said Persis.
But Albert worries sending these kids back to classrooms puts them and their teachers at risk.
“All of this increases the numbers of bodies in our classrooms and in any other year and time it would just be another hurdle that we would work to overcome, but in this moment in time there are serious consequences with packing kids in classrooms,” she said.
Persis said while the board believes schools are safe, this is not considered a mandate. The district will work with families that are concerned on a case-by-case basis.
“If in fact they have a special situation and if they must keep their child at home, please let the Volusia County District Schools know, let their school’s principals know and we’ll do everything possible to help that family, and most importantly to help that child be successful in school,” he said.
Albert said the VUE also wants students to succeed, but she worries about the cost.
“Our concern still is and always will be the health and safety of everybody involved here,” said Albert.
A school district spokesperson shared that ideally they would like to see these students return to the classroom by November 2, which is the end of the first quarter. Officials with the school district and the teacher's union explained its hard to know exactly why these students are failing, but they are looking into it.
However, this all becomes a moot point early next year. All Volusia Live students will need to be enrolled in in person or online learning in late January, as it will no longer be an option once Florida’s state of emergency order is lifted. VUE officials said they hope that the governor extends that state of emergency in the next few months, and allows the Volusia Live option to continue.
The Volusia County School District website tells parents that if their student has a D or F in a Volusia Live class, they must return to in person schooling. The district tells me it is not a mandate, they will work with families on a case by case basis @MyNews13 #News13Volusia pic.twitter.com/41MfcXkn4C— Nicole Griffin (@NicoleNews13) October 9, 2020
According to the school district, 67% of middle school students enrolled in the live option and 65% of high school students have at least one D or F grade. They tell me they are looking in to why that percentage is so high @MyNews13 #News13Volusia— Nicole Griffin (@NicoleNews13) October 9, 2020