Educators, families, are waiting on a ‘revised’ emergency order on how FL schools will function next semester

Teacher in her classroom
Teacher in her classroom. Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images

It’s been almost a week since Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said he would revise an emergency order on reopening schools to give flexibility to families who want their kids in online learning next semester, and not in face-to-face instruction at traditional schools.

But details remain unclear, with families, educators, and teacher unions waiting for the specifics as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Wendy Doromal, president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, wants to know what Corcoran means when he uses the phrase “full parental choice” to describe the kind of instruction kids will get next semester.

“When he says ‘choice,’ he doesn’t really say what are the choices,” Doromal told the Phoenix. “That’s a question right there: ‘What are the choices?’ He didn’t specify really.”

Other educators also are concerned that the revised order could impact district funding, depending on the instructional options.

Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association. Credit: FEA Officer portrait.

Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, says the revised emergency order could cause financial issues for districts.

“They [DOE] talk a lot about parent choice,” Spar told First Coast News WTLV in Jacksonville.

“They need to honor that parent choice and allow parents the option of keeping their kids at home without financially penalizing districts and that’s going to be the real issue and we hope the order will address that.”

Corcoran’s original emergency order in July allowed school districts to implement “innovative” learning options for the fall semester, such as distance learning platforms and hybrid models, so long that districts would provide a brick-and-mortar option for kids to learn in traditional classrooms.

That order will expire soon, and Corcoran said he would release a revised emergency order for the upcoming spring semester by Thanksgiving, if not shortly after.