With three options available, 63 percent of Volusia County public-school students will attend classes in person when school opens Monday, Aug. 31.
The other choices for local families are Volusia Live, where students stay home but view real-time live streaming of what’s going on in the classroom, and Enhanced Volusia Online Learning, an at-your-own-pace, virtual option that has been available to VCS students for years.
For the 2020-21 school year, 22.54 percent of Volusia County’s 60,828 students will use Volusia Live. They are expected to log in and out on time for class every day, and follow the same schedule as their classmates attending in person.
Another 14.46 percent are enrolled in the self-paced online option.
Florida schools were ordered in early July to reopen for the school year by the end of August, and the Volusia County School Board chose the latest-possible date to comply.
Teachers, parents, the Florida Education Association — the teachers union — and the Florida NAACP sued to challenge the state mandate, and on Aug. 24, Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in their favor, calling parts of the state’s order to reopen “unconstitutional.”
His decision says, in part, the order is “unconstitutional to the extent that it arbitrarily disregards safety, denies local school boards’ decision making with respect to reopening brick and mortar schools, and conditions funding on an approved reopening plan with a start date in August.”
The judge’s ruling, however, won’t halt the reopening of local schools Monday.
Volusia County School Board Attorney Ted Doran told the local school board on Aug. 25 that the ruling doesn’t allow Volusia County to prevent schools from reopening Aug. 31, even if they wanted to.
The state has appealed the ruling, Doran said, meaning that until the appellate court renders a decision, the original order still stands.
Doran estimated the appeal process, even fast-tracked, would take around six months.