Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning has announced that the school district is dropping its mySchool Online option in the fall.
Browning explained the district’s decision in a video and the district issued a news release, as well, to explain the coming change.
“Based on recent positive trends, we expect that there will no longer be the need for (the) mySchool Online option next school year,” Browning said, in the video. “We expect the vast majority of students to be back in the classroom for in-person learning and for our employees to return to the classroom or office.”
The superintendent also shared the district’s rationale for its decision.
“First of all, the Florida Department of Education only authorized Florida school systems to offer mySchool Online-type options for the 2020-2021 school year,” he said.
“Current indications are that such programs will not be authorized by the state for the 2021-2022 school year. In addition, the number of positive COVID-19 cases, involving our students or staff, have decreased dramatically, since the high mark of January,” Browning said.
He added: “We continue to monitor the numbers closely, both in our schools and in the community, at large.
“Finally, we have been very aggressive in making the vaccine readily available to our staff,” he said.
Because of the district’s partnership with the county health department, it has been able to vaccinate thousands of its employees, the superintendent said.
Browning also noted that the number of students choosing the mySchool Online option has been steadily declining.
Initially, 60% of the district’s students chose the in-person, bricks-and-mortar option this school year. That figure has increased to 76%. Twenty-one percent of the district’s students are enrolled in the mySchool Online option; the other 3% attend Pasco eSchool, according to district statistics.
Browning also noted: “Despite our best efforts, our data show that many students who opted for mySchool Online are not succeeding academically and would benefit from a return to in-person learning.
“There’s also a growing body of evidence regarding the mental health benefits of attending school in person, with classmates.”
Browning also addressed the issue of masks.
“We’ve all been looking forward to the time when we can all get back to something close to normal. That raises a question about masks.
“I know we are all looking forward to doing away with the masks. Right now, I can’t say for sure whether masks will be required or optional, or some other status.
“We will provide clear guidance on masks, when we have a better idea of what is possible.
“At this time, we expect we’ll be able to get back to normal in the fall,” Browning said.
Published April 07, 2021