Collier County Public Schools approves back-to-school plan

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:

Collier County Public Schools officially announced its reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year Wednesday.

Students go back to school August 19, and parents can choose from four different learning options:

  • In-person class
  • Home schooling
  • eCollier Academy“structured option
  • eCollier Academy flexible option

CCPS says students can revert to distance learning at any time if needed.

Collier County Schools are starting to reveal their plans for when your children return to school. Collier County released the details of what a students time in class will look like.

Six-year-old Sophia DeBres loves school.

“She really wants to go to school,” said Jaime Crossan DeBres said, Sophia’s mother. “She misses her friends. She misses her teachers.”

But, because of the high COVID-19 numbers in Florida, her mom says she’ll have to wait a little longer and do the structured e-learning plan offered by CCPS.

“If those numbers change or if things get better or there’s improvements that we have the option to re-join in-person schooling,” Crossan said.

CCPS finalized its plan for the in-person schooling option, and it looks like required masks and goggles will be around for a while.

“Once there’s a positivity rate of 10% and consistently dropping for two weeks, then, will look at proactive measures being incrementally reduced,” the school district said.

Until then, school and health officials count on stringent social distancing and the masks and goggles to keep students safe, even if there’s a positive case.

“It really should not happen,” Superintendent Kamela Patton said. “The time that it could happen as lunchtime because in order to eat lunch or breakfast your mask has to come off.”

And, if there’s a case, only those who came into contact with the infected person for 15 minutes or more without a mask on will be notified.

But school officials don’t want it to get to that point at all.

“Stay home if your child feels sick at all,” Patton said. “Stay home simple, simply put.”

Parents have until July 22 to choose their back-to-school plan, and they can switch at any time during the school year.

And while Crossan Debres likes the school district’s plan, She still plans to wait it out a little longer.

“I was actually really impressed,” Crossan said.

One mom who talked to WINK News is supposed to be sending her kids to Laurel Oak Elementary, but like so many, she waited for Wednesday’s announcement to decide if she wants to enroll them in the new virtual school or take teaching into her own hands.

“Right now, I’m leaning more towards homeschooling, which I never thought I would ever say in my lifetime,” said Stephanie Haddaway, a North Naples mother. “But, when I was doing it during the quarantine, I really noticed that my children were thriving. I noticed that if one child had a reading issue and they needed help, I could quickly solve that. And, if another child was confused, they wouldn’t just sit there quietly in the classroom. I could immediately help,”

This spring, Haddaway stepped into a teaching role for her five kids, spanning from pre-K to middle school.

She’ll do it again if she has to. But, first, she wants to see if the new eCollier Academy would be a better fit. It was founded this summer and is a virtual school with two options, including a flexible model that pairs students with teachers they will be able to interact with over the phone or video conference. It allows more room for students to go at their own pace.

The other is more structured with daily attendance to live classes run by a Collier County Public Schools teacher.

Haddaway’s kids are all for some kind of at-home learning.

“I like it better at home because, at school, it’s seven hours, and, here, it’s two hours working, and we only have to do a little bit at a time,” Hunter Haddaway said.

The academy has also established clubs for students. And if a student plays sports, they are able to join the team of the school they would traditionally be zoned for.

Registration for the free academy opens Wednesday. You can find the registration form here.

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