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Gov. DeSantis says K-12 schools must stay closed until April 15, classes to resume remotely

Jim Little
Pensacola News Journal

Florida students in kindergarten through 12th grades will stay off school campuses until at least April 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but they will begin some type of online or remote instruction March 30, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced at a news conference Tuesday.

DeSantis said he and Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran were waiving state testing requirements for the school year and the requirements that students must take the test to graduate or advance to the next grade.

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"Parents may at their discretion choose to keep their child in the same grade for the 2021 school year," DeSantis said.

All schools in the state of Florida have closed for at least two weeks, with most districts' spring breaks occurring over the two-week period and classes set to resume March 30.

The state education commissioner, Corcoran, said although students won't be allowed in schools until April 15, teaching will have to resume in some form.

"What we're saying to the schools is they still have to give those instructional hours," Corcoran said. "They're going to do a fantastic job."

Coronavirus: Florida public schools to close for two weeks

Corcoran said four school districts are returning from spring break next week and will resume classes with remote instruction. He said kindergarten through fifth grade will do "innovative" things such as having drop-off points for take-home assignments biweekly, while grades 6-12 will have most students using online access to participate in online classes.

Corcoran said he was freeing up schools to allow unspent money from their budgets that is otherwise restricted to be spent on providing devices and internet access for low-income students who currently don't have them.

"As the other schools come online, because they have spring break and the one week off that ends in March, as those come on through April 15, all schools will be doing similar as is being done by Duval, Sumter, Collier and Union (counties). They're already doing it and up and ready to run by Monday."

This story originally published to pnj.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.