Not one parent, student or teacher could have predicted that the school year would end as it did. With virtual and closed graduations, online AP tests, Zoom classes and parents becoming more familiar with algebra and equations than they ever wanted to, what happened from March to June was for the books.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, Governor Ron DeSantis announced on April 18th, after schools had been moved to distance learning for the short term, that our public schools would not be reopening for the rest of the year and would continue virtually.
Private schools followed suit. So many questions of how the year was going to continue arose, from parents, teachers and students alike. But, alas, it did.
In response to school closures and to help with some normalcy, some implementations and changes were put in place. The schools adapted, parents adapted, and most of all, the kids adapted. While not perfect or what we could have ever imagined, we did it!
Here is a little review of what happened from March to June in our school system.
12 P.M. All extracurricular activities and field trips beginning Monday, March 16 and running through Tuesday, March 31 were canceled for ACPS schools.
5 P.M. Richard Corcoran, The Florida Commissioner of Education instructed all Florida public school districts to extend their spring breaks by an extra week. Alachua County Public Schools were closed from March 16th through March 27th.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced that students would not return to school until at least April 15.
ACPS released their Instructional Continuity Plan so that students could continue the learning process while schools were closed due to COVID-19 beginning on March 30th.
Virtual instruction begins for ACPS.
Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced that schools would remain closed through May 1. New target date for reopening schools would be Monday, May 4.
Teachers from Alachua Elementary and Irby Elementary do car parades through the neighborhoods in their community to spread a little happiness.
The Governor and Florida Education Commissioner announced that Florida’s schools will remain closed and distance learning will continue through the rest of the 2019-20 school year.
Students were given access to a free program that sent school buses equipped with ‘hot spots’ into local communities at 45 different sites for free.
Alachua County Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services Department (FNS) began providing free suppers and snacks for children age 0-18 at 29 school sites throughout the district.
Camp Crystal and EDEP camp canceled
Alachua County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services team passed a milestone–one million meals distributed to children during the crisis. The food service team, with help from the Transportation Department, had been providing lunch and breakfast (including meals for the weekend), at 78 sites throughout Alachua County, snacks and suppers at 27 sites, and weekly bags of produce at 10 sites.
Graduating seniors from Buchholz High School had a special ‘farewell’ event on their campus.
Class of 2020 graduation ceremonies schedule was released. The ceremonies will be at the Gainesville Raceway.
Newberry High School 9-11 a.m.
Hawthorne High School 2-3:30 p.m.
PAM@Loften High School 6-7:30 p.m.
Eastside High School 9:30-noon
Buchholz High School 5-7:30 p.m.
Santa Fe High School 9:30-noon
Gainesville High School 5-7:30 p.m.
Senior Slow Roll for Santa Fe High School students.
Gainesville High School seniors were greeted by teachers and staff with signs and balloons, and received yard signs recognizing them as members of the Class of 2020, gifts from the PTSA and other items.
Oak Hall School had closed graduation ceremony
Saint Francis Catholic Academy had closed graduation ceremony
And while we don’t know what the 2020-2021 school year will look like at the moment, we do know that it may reflect a “new normal”. At time of print, we don’t know what that new normal will be. Although this global pandemic took so much from our students and the school system, it didn’t take away the spirit of learning and hope for a wonderful tomorrow.
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