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Walton County school leaders find ways to continue classes for quarantined students

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 7:55 PM CST
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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

The pandemic has changed the way students are learning, and schools are getting creative to keep classes going.

In Walton County, every student quarantined continues live classes by using the Microsoft Teams platform.

“Every child has a laptop that goes home with them, and we’re all on teams, so the work is there, they’re just working at home and if they’re sick, they do the best they can,” said Freeport Middle School Principal John Olson.

The transition from in-person instruction to online and back has been seamless for students, according to Olson.

“They’re working the whole time they’re home, through quarantine, so we don’t lose a step of valuable instruction,” said Olson.

Walton County School leaders along with the Department of Health created a decision tree to determine when students have to quarantine and when they get to return to class.

“If a person is in close proximity, what we do is every teacher and every area a child is in we have a seating chart, and from that seating chart, we know exactly where they are,” said School Safety Specialist Charlie Morse. “If they’re in close proximity to someone, which is less than six feet, 15-minute exposure for 24 hours, they have to isolate as well for 10 days.”

Flexibility is key. Walton County Schools superintendent A. Russell Hughes allows each school to decide for themselves how to keep COVID-19 cases low.

“For instance, Freeport Middle School, they don’t change classes, the teachers change classes,” said Hughes, “For secondary schools, we went to a block schedule, so students are changing classes every period as they would in 50 minutes, it’s more like every 90 minutes.”

Hughes added 90 percent of all students in Walton County attend brick and mortar school, and until the pandemic is over, they’ll keep getting creative to keep kids learning when they have to stay home.

According to the Department of Health and school officials, there are currently 169 students in Walton County schools quarantined, out of just over 10,000 students.

Bay County has 907 quarantined out of roughly 26,000 students.

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