ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. – Parents are reluctant to send their children back to school due to the surge in COVID cases.
Judi Hayes is the mother of two students from Orange County. She said she was still undecided and did not know what to do a few weeks before the start of the new school year.
“I don’t really have a deadline, honestly,” said Hayes.
Hayes said she is still trying to determine whether her children will learn in person or virtually.
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She said her two children used OCPS LaunchEd last year, but the district’s blended learning model was not an option this school year.
Hayes said his eldest son, Jack, would be going back to school. She said the 8th grade student is fully immunized and will wear a mask.
But she’s still deciding what to do with her youngest son, Will.
“We feel like it’s just not safe for him to come back. because he has Down syndrome, we need to protect him a little more than most kids, ”Hayes said.
She is not alone. Many parents in Central Florida are faced with the same decision.
As cases of COVID increase and there is no approved vaccine for young children, many parents are struggling to choose whether to send their students to learn in person or enroll in a virtual school.
“I think any parent of a child under 12 who cannot be vaccinated, most of us, I would like to think, have the same concerns about the safety of our children, especially when we know that other kids in school won’t wear masks, ”Hayes said.
Florida Virtual School has extended its registration deadline for Kindergarten to Grade 8 students. Parents now have until August 13 to register.
A spokesperson for FLVS said they were receiving more requests compared to enrollment levels before the pandemic.
The deadline to register for the Orange County Virtual School is July 30.
District officials said 2,150 students have enrolled so far, less than half the number last year.
The district projects that 209,000 students will register for the 2021-2022 school year.
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