At the conclusion of Tuesday’s nearly ten-hour-long Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) School Board meeting to address how the county’s schools will reopen in the fall, members voted to table the discussion and decision portions of the meeting until Friday, July 17 at 9 a.m.
During Friday’s meeting, school board members will vote on how to approach reopening, and will choose between the three options laid out during Tuesday’s meeting: “face-to-face” (which is required by the state), “virtual” (which was approved for the latter part of the 2020 spring semester), and “innovative” (a hybrid plan called OCPSLaunchEd@Home, which would require an application and state approval). The decision will affect all Winter Park public schools, which are all part of the OCPS system.
On Tuesday, more than 100 speakers were heard, expressing their views on how schools should go about reopening for the fall semester. Callers waited on hold for hours and were each given a five-minute time limit to speak to the board.
The vast majority of callers pleaded with school board members not to force face-to-face schooling in the fall, citing a strong concern for the health of students, teachers and school faculty due to record-high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths across the state.
Friday’s meeting will not include any further public comments. “We will not be taking public comments, [Friday’s meeting] is for discussion, deliberation and board action only,” said Teresa Jacobs, chairwoman of the Orange County Public School Board.