Sarasota County School District to Begin Online Classes on Wednesday, April 1

Sarasota County School District to Begin Online Classes on Wednesday, April 1
Sarasota County School District begins online learning on Wednesday, April 1. (Source: WWSB)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - All Florida public schools will remain closed through at least May 1. The move applies to both district and charter schools. Athletic and other extracurricular activities will also remain canceled until further notice. Plus, tomorrow, Sarasota County will start school online as well. While schools have been closed for some time now, teachers were back in the classrooms all last week being trained on how to use their new system that they call - the ICAN Plan which will be put in place starting Wednesday.

“If this would have happened in 1970, there’s no way this would have happened at all. I know there’s a lot of people out there that have different takes on technology, and obviously I’m more a proponent to technology in the classroom, but I’ve never been more thankful. We can continue our jobs. We can continue our learning. I truly believe there’s still a lot of learning to be had - even if we are not seeing our students on a daily basis,” Michael McGuckin, a math teacher at Riverview High School, explained.

Sarasota County's Instructional Continuity for Academic Needs plan is the new way for teachers and students to connect and transition into distance learning. Lesson plans have been changed to include project-based exercises and programs that can be done throughout the day - instead of having classes taught at specific times.

“We are thinking of every aspect. We’re thinking of that kid that now has to watch their sibling. Yes, they might be in 11th grade, but they have a 3rd grade sibling they have to watch because their parents are still working,” Cynthia Conway, a U.S. History and English teacher at North Port High School, tells us.

The district released a video to show teachers, students and parents how it will all work and to ease everyone's minds on adjusting to this new normal.

“But for those that live out in the estates and have absolutely no internet, the district is doing a couple of different things. in north port, they’re setting up hot spot locations, so students can come and work from their cars or under a tree,” Conway explained.

Plus, in the worst case scenario for those students who can't get to places with internet access, packets will also be available to help them keep up with their curriculum.

“If I could encourage teachers or parents or students who are stressed, I’d say I get it, you’re stressed and rightfully so. However, it’s not like learning is not going to be done. I think there’s going to be a lot of really cool kind of activities and different ways to learn because we have a different environment. It’s going to take some time to transition, but it’s going to be good at the end,” said McGuckin.

Online learning using the ICAN Plan will begin tomorrow for all schools throughout Sarasota County, and it will be in place until it’s safe to go back to campus.

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