District flexible, students flip flopping

Roughly 500 Santa Rosa students have transitioned back from remote learning to brick and mortar schools since the beginning of the semester, according to Mike Thorpe, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.

Thorpe said they have also seen some students transition the other way, leaving physical schools for the remote option.

“Not many have gone the other way. The ones that did are mostly due to illness, maybe something going on in the family,” Thorpe said.

He pointed out that family members with significant health risks may cause a student to go remote, but less than 100 families have done so.

For district officials concerned about students learning everything they need for state examinations, the flip-flopping is problematic. That’s why the district aimed to block it when initially submitting their COVID-19 plan, Thorpe said.

“We try to keep them in that program. If I can keep them with that same teacher, we hope there will not be those gaps in learning,” Thorpe said.

But the state said no. Florida Department of Education required the district to allow students to change between options before accepting the state-mandated plan.

The district has been flexible, for students seeking to transition, Thorpe advised parents to wait until the second semester.

Following fall break Nov. 23-27, parents will be asked again which option they want to choose. Students that opt to come back to brick and mortar during the second semester will have access to additional transition resources, Thorpe said.

The second semester begins Jan. 19 due to the delayed start of school.  

“It seems natural at the semester break to make the change,” he said.

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