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Marion County looks to continue remote learning option, awaits state decision

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Marion County Superintendent Diane Gullett and her staff are making plans -- and planning to survey parents -- to continue the remote learning option next semester. Video Image: MCPS via YouTube

Marion County school officials have been telling parents whose online students are struggling with grades or conduct to return them to face-to-face learning.

But even so, the district does not want to eliminate its online option next semester.

A state emergency order last summer required schools to open for in-person learning and assured funding for remote instruction.

Now more and more students are returning to campus.

And with the order expiring in December, this district and others are looking for answers. One question: Will Florida maintain its level of funding for students in remote learning?

Superintendent Diane Gullett told the School Board she expects a decision from the state later this month.

“There are students who are successful online,” she said. “And for those who are — and for those who have health risk either of themselves or of those family members where we are still in a pandemic and we do not want to compromise that — we believe that if they are successful we want to continue with that option.”

And though some are struggling, academic evaluations show online students are actually doing about the same as their peers, counseling and assessment director Jonathan McGowan told the board.

“We’re not seeing any significant differences between students who were our online learners and those that were our traditional on-campus learners,” he said.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.