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Marion County parents’ ‘final, final, final, final’ decision on online or in-person school is due Friday morning

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Philip Leppert, executive director of support services for Marion County Public Schools, and CFO Theresa Boston-Ellis present COVID-19 related supplies to the School Board on Thursday. Image: MCPS

The Marion County School Board is giving parents until 10 a.m. Friday to switch their kids’ instruction one last time between online and face-to-face.

Principals have been getting 10-12 changes a day.

Area director for secondary education Ben Whitehouse told the board that schools need a chance to set their schedules before classes start on Monday.

“We have had a constant moving target for the last few weeks of students who are moving from traditional to online, online to traditional, and families that have called multiple times to switch two or three times in different directions,” he said.

The board considered halting the changes right away. But board member Nancy Thrower said parents needed another chance to think about it.

“People are at work right now,” she said the during the morning meeting, “and they can come home tonight and have that discussion and make their final, final, final, final decision.”

The district expects more than 30,000 students — about 70 percent of enrollment — to show up for face-to-face learning.

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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.