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The four reopening strategies for Lee Schools

By Staff | Jul 9, 2020

The four reopening models presented during Wednesday’s Lee County School District board meeting are:

* Face-to-Face: students return to school for face-to-face instruction five days a week with health and safety protocols in place.

* Homeschool: students are enrolled in the district’s full-time Home Education Program where the parents, or guardian teaches the child at home.

* Lee Home Connect: students are paired with a teacher from their school for at-home, full-time virtual school, which is fully accredited and run by the School District of Lee County. Students can choose to return to their regular school at the end of each grading period, or at principal discretion.

* Lee Virtual School: students are enrolled in a full-time virtual school, which is fully accredited and run by the School District of Lee County. Students attending can choose to return to school at the end of each semester.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jeff Spiro said the K-12 Pandemic Task Force agreed, based on the executive order, to return to school with face-to-face instruction, as well as providing options for families which decide to keep their child home.

With the Lee Home Connect plan, students will remain connected with their current schools. The student still will have the opportunity to participate in their assigned school’s activities.

The district still is in the process of working out how a student, if they choose to enroll in Lee Home Connect, will participate in high school academies.

“It’s not an easy answer. We don’t have a solution for every situation,” Spiro said. “Our teachers may have better solutions for us to help make it more applicable to families and teachers.”

Dual enrollment is also a go for this school year, as students will have the opportunity to participate in online classes, or in-person learning.

Board Member Chris Patricca said the district is really giving the community options while maintaining the family and child’s engagement in the schools.

“This option, I’m incredibly grateful to you,” she said of Lee Home Connect. “I think this is fantastic.”

Lee Virtual School Principal Al Shilling said they have just about 4,000 applicants as of Wednesday, adding that during a normal school year they typically receive a significantly smaller number of applicants.

“It’s about 125 (percent) bigger than what we would normally expect,” Shilling said, adding that some of the applications were in before the newer option of the Lee Home Connect was presented.

If a student chooses to enroll with the Lee Virtual School, they are still able to participate on athletic teams for their zoned schools, as well as be involved in extracurricular activities.

“At the end of the day we are another public school,” Shilling said. “This is a full-time school. It is a commitment to five, six, or more hours per day.”

At the elementary level, Lee Virtual School, requires assistance of an adult in the household to make sure lessons are set up, but not taught.