Orange County Public Schools' Medical Advisory Committee urges Florida to extend virtual learning


  • Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Orange County Public Schools' Medical Advisory Committee sent a letter to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Wednesday, strongly urging that Orange County's schools be allowed to continue with virtual education as an option through the balance of the 2020-21 school year.

The School Board here in Orange County established the Medical Advisory Committee back in July, with 10 members – from areas like nursing, infectious disease, emergency medicine, developmental-behavioral pediatrics and nursing – to advise on district policy as the coronavirus pandemic continued in Florida. And as coronavirus numbers rise throughout the county, this committee is strongly on the side of virtual learning staying on the table, believing it to be "a medical necessity for many of our students, especially those who have underlying medical conditions that would place them at high-risk."

Florida's Department of Education issued an Emergency Order for the fall semester of this year allowing schools to use online learning, as long as some option for in-person education was also in place. But the state has yet to issue any new guidelines or recommendations for the spring semester, starting in January.

"We believe that having a virtual school platform for the entire 2020-2021 academic year is a medical necessity for many of our students, especially those who have underlying medical conditions that would place them at high-risk for significant morbidity and mortality from COVID-19," said the committee in their letter to Corcoran. "It is also an academic necessity given that, as the spring semester begins, we still anticipate requiring periods of quarantine or isolation as our students and faculty are exposed to COVID-19."

As of this writing, there has been no response from the DOE or Corcoran. Read the rest of the letter here.

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