Nearly Half of Hillsborough County Students Opt for eLearning

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Almost half of Hillsborough County parents with kids in public schools are opting for eLearning to start the new school year in August.

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Results from the districts Declaration of Intent are out, and it shows more than half of parents responded.

Of the 115,000 surveys returned, 56,488 students will return to the classroom, 48,410 will go to school using eLearning for at least the first half of the school year, and 48,410 selected Hillsborough virtual school.

District officials said once families make a choice, they need to stick with it for at least the first semester. 

“Because it really does dictate for us where to put our staff to meet the needs of all students,” Deputy Superintendent Terry Connor said. 

Superintendent Addison Davis warned that if students are constantly going back and forth there could be consequences. 

“If students are popping in and out of eLearning and in and out of brick and mortar, that could potentially set us over the class size which would be a financial impact to the district.”

Officials said if changes need to be made, those will be handled on a case-by-case basis. 

And with so many people opting for eLearning, the district said there will need to be system upgrades. 

Hillsborough Schools has already transitioned from the Edsby App to Canvass for eLearning, the same App Pasco Schools uses and one that many colleges use nationwide.

“We will have to continue to build out our infrastructure. This is a known,” Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Bunkley said. “It is not something that will happen overnight. A network of this size does not make these type of adjustments on a dime.” 

If parents didn’t turn in a survey, a spokesperson said it will automatically default to the brick and mortar choice. However, Davis is asking principals to reach out ot families who didn’t respond to make sure that’s what they want. 

Also, if you want to enroll in Hillsborough virtual K-12 for the upcoming school year, the application period ends on Friday. 

As student numbers returning to school become more clear for the fall, local school districts are also trying to determine start dates for schools and finalize reopening plans. 

Hillsborough County Schools are holding a meeting Thursday to talk about approving the superintendent’s plan and to vote on pushing the school date back by two weeks. 

The Pasco County School Board voted Tuesday to delay the start of school buy two weeks to August 24.

In Pinellas County, the superintendent has voiced support for delaying the start of school until August 24 as well, although the board has not announced if it will vote on the measure.

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