Public Schools

What to know when students return

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

When students, teachers and faculty return to the classroom starting Tuesday, Duval County Public Schools anticipates more bodies in the brick-and-mortar setting than previously — that’s because the district is encouraging students to return. 

As the second quarter wrapped up, parents began receiving letters encouraging students they said weren’t excelling in an online setting to come back to in-person learning. 

More coverage: Jacksonville education news

Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene said those letters were part of the district’s spring plan, which had to be submitted to the state department of education for approval. The plan was approved on Dec. 22. 

“We have to show that with students who have poor attendance or are failing, we’ve done everything we can to bring them back to brick-and-mortar,” Greene said at a School Board meeting. “We sent notice saying if that was the case, we would call them back to brick-and-mortar. Once that happens and those families don’t want to come back, we have to give them a form that acknowledges we have done everything in our power to bring them back but they’re signing off that they understand what we’ve asked … and they’re still choosing to remain learning remotely.” 

Amanda Kennedy takes student's temperatures at Beauclerc Elementary School in an August file photo. [Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union]

‘No communication’

Katie Donahue has two elementary-school-age daughters participating in Duval HomeRoom this school year, but only one received a letter encouraging her to come back to brick-and-mortar school, Alimacani Elementary. 

Donahue said her third-grader got some C’s during the first semester, but that she’s now getting B’s and that teachers never said anything to her about grades being an issue or that they’re concerned about her progress. She doesn’t understand why her fifth-grader didn’t receive the same letter with comparable grades or why she wasn’t first approached by a teacher or counselor if her daughter’s grades seemed like a problem. 

About the author

Mamie M. Arndt