Santa Rosa parents petition for distance learning option

In Santa Rosa County Public Schools, there are two options for parents come Aug. 10.

Either students attend brick and mortar school buildings, where officials have admitted social distancing due to COVID-19 will be impossible and masks will not be required. Or the student is pulled from their district school and enrolled in Santa Rosa Online, the local version of Florida Virtual School.

More than 1,400 citizens have said that’s not good enough, signing a petition demanding a third option due to the pandemic. Started by Ashley Miller, a parent with immune compromised family members, the MoveOn.org petition “Distance Learning for Santa Rosa Florida School District” received more than 1,400 signatures in less than three days.

“Parents, through this petition, are asking to be heard to discuss other options…,” the petition reads. “Together, we can create an environment where we do not have to choose between our children’s mental and physical health and education. We owe it to the children of Santa Rosa County.”

Neighboring counties have unveiled a plans to offer distance learning for parents that did not want to send students back to physical schools but wanted to remain tied to their existing school.

Instead of enrolling their students in Florida Virtual, these parents would be able to utilize technology such as Zoom to have their student participate in virtual classroom lessons and discussions. These students would also maintain a normal class schedule with teachers from the school they are districted for.

Santa Rosa parents have raised concerns for special case students such as those with disabilities, gifted students and kindergarteners who may struggle in a fully virtual class, but Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick said implementing a distance learning option is too heavy a lift for the district. 

Read the full article in the July 16 issue of Navarre Press.

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