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Leon County Schools begins next 9-weeks with more laptops and larger classrooms

Posted at 6:16 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 18:20:23-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The start of the 2020 school year was like none other. COVID-19 brought with it new options for students to learn, masks, and social distancing.

Now that the first nine weeks are down, there are more changes ahead for the next nine.

Some classrooms will be getting bigger, and schools like Sabal Palm are adding finishing touches to accommodate those changes.

"I'm just tickled pink at how things have gone thus far," said Rocky Hanna, the superintendent of Leon County Schools.

LCS opened the window to allow students to return to the classroom for the second nine weeks.

Approximately 3,500 students decided they would return, shifting the makeup to 55 percent learning in-person and 45 percent enrolled in digital learning.

At Sabal Palm, the changing class sizes mean more changes for some teachers.

To maintain smaller class sizes and social distancing, some teachers are being added to grade levels and there will be some transitions between who is teaching online versus digital.

To help students continue to adapt through the school year, the district will roll out Chromebooks to all students by Thanksgiving.

"Basically we propped up two individual school systems for our students learning at home and the ones in class," Hanna said. "Having these devices will only make the experience better."

DeSoto Trails and Cobb Middle Schools are prepared to start rolling them out as part of a pilot program.

"Tuesday and Wednesday after school, we have a drive-thru open in the parking lot where our parents can come through with the device we checked out to them before," said Sarah Hembree, the principal at Cobb Middle School. "They can bring those clunky old desktops back."

Hembree says they'll also have support staff on hand to make sure there's not technology questions or concerns heading into things.

"For the first two hours every day we'll continue to have our support staff answering calls for students, parents, and teachers," said Hembree.

Distribution for other schools begins next Monday.

Title I Schools will start first.

The second nine weeks begins next Tuesday.