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Florida Department of Education

The Florida Department of Education announced significant changes to the state’s requirements, calendar and other educational expectations of all school districts due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Highlights of these announcements are provided below:

  • All Florida schools, public and private, are closed until at least April 15, 2020.
  • School districts should be prepared to extend their school year until June 30, 2020, to the extent it is feasible and necessary.
  • All state testing, Florida Standards Assessments (FSAs), End-of-Course exams and other state mandated examinations are cancelled.
  • Student graduation and promotion decisions will be based on local criteria.
  • Eligibility for Florida Bright Futures scholarships shall be based on available data and results. Tests that were not available to be taken shall not be counted.
  • The Commissioner of Education has been granted authority to adjust the minimum instructional hours requirements for schools to accommodate for closures.
  • School and district grades will not be calculated for the 2019/20 school year.
  • School districts have been provided flexibility and given direction to collaborate with parents to determine the best manner and timeframe to provide Exceptional Student Education services, hold Individual Education Plan meetings, provide Bilingual/ESOL services and provide other student support services.
  • School districts have been authorized to utilize certain federal grant and state categorical funds to procure digital devices and provide internet connectivity.
  • School districts have been authorized to utilize certain federal grant and state categorical funds to provide telephone and internet-based mental health, social-emotional and other comprehensive wellness supports.
  • School districts will receive their full allocation of funding for programs this fiscal year, as if the school year had not been interrupted by COVID-19.

Additional information can be obtained from the verified sources listed below:

For more information and updates, visit www.browardschools.com/coronavirus

Funding:

  • The Florida Department of Education and K-12 school districts are instructed to redirect unspent 2019-2020 funds from Reading Scholarship Accounts, the Reading Instruction Allocation, the Digital Classroom Allocation and the Teachers Classroom Supply Assistance Program to help low-income students purchase digital devices and establish Internet services.
  • In order to facilitate the remote connection between teachers and students, K-12 school districts are further permitted to redirect unspent Title 2 funds to help low-income students purchase digital devices and establish Internet services.
  • K-12 school districts are permitted to redirect unspent 2019-2020 funds from the Safe Schools and Mental Health allocations to virtual and telephonic mental health counseling services for students who need emotional support due to COVID-19.
  • All school readiness, voluntary prekindergarten, K-12, career and technical centers and state college programs will receive their full allocation of funding, and therefore staff and contractors can be paid fully, through June 30, 2020, as though there was no disruption in education.

Teachers:

  • For the next 120 days, exam fees for teacher certification-related examinations will be waived, and test takers who were unable to take an exam due to test site locations closing will be granted an extension to meet these requirements.

District School Board and State College Board of Trustees Meetings:

  • All district school board and state college board of trustees meetings through June 30, 2020, are postponed and may only be scheduled for emergency purposes only by the respective school district superintendent or college president.
  • These meetings must be convened virtually or telephonically.
  • If there is a vacancy or inability to serve on the part of the superintendent or college president, then the respective board chair may convene an emergency meeting.
  • School districts and state colleges must ensure that meetings held by virtual means are accessible by interested members of the public.

School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten Programs:

  • Commissioner Corcoran strongly recommend school readiness and voluntary prekindergarten programs adhere to the CDC’s guidance for higher-risk populations by limiting students and employees to no more than 10 people convening in a single occupied space, therefore breaking students into groups as necessary, maintaining social distancing best practices and proper hygiene.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services Offices:

  • All services provided by the divisions of Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services to clients shall be provided solely though virtual and telephonic methods to the extent possible.
  • The Department will work with appropriate federal authorities to seek waivers for any federal requirements that may be impacted.

Postsecondary Institutions:

  • All public state college and university, and private college and university campuses and buildings are closed for the remainder of the spring semester.
  • Colleges and universities are encouraged to operate virtually or through other non-classroom-based means to the greatest extent possible.
  • Colleges and universities should be prepared to extend their educational calendars through June 30, 2020, to the extent feasible and necessary.