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Duval County Schools To Begin E-Learning Monday; Looking To Partners For Child Care

Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Diana Greene spoke about the introduction of Duval HomeRoom, which she wants all students to be using by March 27.
Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Diana Greene spoke about the introduction of Duval HomeRoom, which she wants all students to be using by March 27.

Duval Public School students will be returning to the classroom virtually on this coming Monday, March 23. 

The county is introducing Duval HomeRoom, an e-learning platform that students will use while schools are closed until at least April 15.

“Let me say that there is nothing that can replace the dynamics of a well-managed classroom environment and a school with a high performance academic culture,” said Diana Greene, the superintendent of Duval County Public Schools. “The core competency of our schools is to deliver exceptional classroom education. Today though, we are flipping the script. We are teaching that same core competency into a new model of home based instruction.” 

Greene says the county is asking parents to fill out a survey to find students who are in need of laptops or wi-fi at home so they can access the platform. 

“I need to emphasize this - We need every family to fill out the survey we have online about technology availability in your home,” Greene said. “You can do this survey on a cell phone.”

The survey is available here, or parents can call in to the technology help desk at (904) 348-5200, where someone will complete the survey for the parents. The district will begin delivering the technology this weekend. 

Middle and high-school students will start online right away. Green said students have used the platform before, making it easier for them to jump into the program. 

Greene says over 1,400 educators across the district are already familiar with using Duval HomeRoom
Credit Sky Lebron / WJCT News
Greene says over 1,400 educators across the district are already familiar with using Duval HomeRoom

For elementary students, the district will provide paper packets for the next two weeks, then move them toward e-learning as well. 

Paper packets will also be available for ESE students.

Along with delivering the packets, Greene says the district will also deliver lunches to bus stops for kids to pick up. 

“Lunches will still be available at schools, but it will also be those meals on our wheels, and deliver academic and physical nutrition to every student every day,” Greene said.

Air-cards will be given to students who need internet access at home. Comcast partnered with the district, and the access will be free to parents for the first two months, and $19 a month after that. 

Greene says more than 1,400 educators in the county were already using Duval HomeRoom to some degree, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to transition their lessons to the platform. Others will be using it for the first time. 

“Please have patience,” Greene said. “This is like the first day of school all over again, and there are just some things we will have to learn by experience.”

The district’s goal is to have all students connected with Duval HomeRoom by Friday, March 27. 

Greene said the platform allows faculty to hold meetings with up to 200 people on the line.

Charter schools have the option to use the platform, but Greene says some have opted for other e-learning platforms. 

And for parents who need child care services while they are at work, Greene said the district is reaching out to churches and other community partners to see if they are available to care for kids and provide technology and internet access.

Read more from WJCT News: Local, State And National Coronavirus Coverage

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.

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