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Orange County Schools Will Reopen Friday As Planned

Teresa Jacobs
The Florida Channel
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Orange County School Board voted late Monday night to stick to the plan to reopen brick-and-mortar schools Friday for face-to-face learning. 

That’s after a medical advisory committee recommended pushing back the start date for middle and high schools to Aug. 31.  

The medical advisory committee had recommended the later start date because of the higher potential for transmission of the coronavirus among middle and high school-age children. 

But a majority of board members felt yet another change to the district’s back-to-school plan would fuel more confusion and anxiety.  

“It’s not just changing a date on a calendar. It’s upending plans people have made and makes things so much more difficult in the lives of our families,” board member Karen Castor Dentel said.

The board members heard hours of public testimony overwhelmingly from parents and students who supported face-to-face learning. 

Among them was Jessica Stroup, a student in Winter Garden. 

“I have been stuck inside my room facing this screen of what I have to learn from. I can tell you I am distracted daily. The quality of education is not OK, and depression is going through everyone’s head,” she said. 

Some 30 percent of students and teachers have indicated a preference for face-to-face learning when schools reopen Friday.