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School Board Chair: Palm Beach County Schools to start Virtually until Phase Two Re-opening

Palm Beach County School Board Chairman Frank Barbieri joined The South Florida Morning Show Wednesday and talked about the upcoming virtual school year and how many students will or won’t be able to participate. He said he is unhappy that 10% of the students, mostly underprivileged will not have a way to access the internet or communicate with a teacher. Barbieri says once the county moves into Phase Two of reopening, schools will be able to offer in-person learning to students and that will be the decision of the parent. Right now, he says, there is no good answer to give parents who will not be able to work while their kids are learning from home.

Frank Barbieri parents stay home

Listen to full interview here.
Frank Barbieri Interview 7-22-20

With virtual learning a potential done deal, Palm Beach County is giving the district $10,000,000 to establish critical infrastructure to allow all students to have internet access, according to the Palm Beach County Schools.

Initially one computer was provided per household, but sharing was not an option for large families. Now the district will ensure every student has a laptop providing a 1:1 computer ratio that gives every student the access to a computer with a camera.

So far, 61,000 student Chromebooks have been loaned out to families for distance learning and the district has ordered 82,000 additional devices to be delivered on August 17.

The district is also working on a connectivity plan to provide internet service to families who do not currently have a reliable connection.
The district hopes to provide free Wi-Fi to 7,500 students in the Glades and Lake Worth Beach regions. Students without internet access will be provided a password for free internet.

Parents will be able to log into an individualized education program meeting via Google Meet to access a distance learning plan for their children.

The board also approved includes guidelines for when students will return to school. Traditional classes can resume in Palm Beach County when the county enters phase 2 of reopening.

The school board meets again Wednesday, July 22 to determine a start date for the school year which will likely be August 31 rather than August 10th.