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Education

Want To Change Your Child From Remote to In-Person Learning? Pinellas Will 'Review' All Requests

a graphic that reads: "Learning option change request" in blue
SCREENSHOT: Pinellas Co. Schools
Pinellas County parents must decide by Tuesday night whether to ask for a change in their child's school arrangment

As more parents seek to send their children back to school in-person, concerns are mounting about how to maintain social distancing.

While coronavirus numbers are low right now, flu season is looming, and social distancing becomes harder when more children are physically in school.

That's why schools in Pinellas County are hoping to gradually return more students to in-person learning.

The district is asking parents to let them know if they want to make a change by the deadline of Tuesday October 6th, at 11:59 p.m.

Pinellas County Schools says these requests will be reviewed and decisions made at the school level by the week of October 19.

If parents and students are happy with their current situation, whether remote or in-person, the district is urging them to stay with it, to keep fewer students on campus if possible.

"As we look ahead to the second quarter of the 2020-2021 school year, starting at the end of October, we encourage families to stay with their current learning option if it is working for them," the district said in a statement.

"Fewer students in our schools will help minimize disruption of student schedules and maximize social distancing on campus. The goal is to keep students and staff safe and healthy."

The district said decisions regarding requests to change a learning option "will keep the health and wellness guidelines set forth in the district’s ReOpening Plan at the forefront."

To maintain fairness, the district said it would assign a random order to all submissions, and review them based on available seats and instructional staff at the school.

At present, about 56 percent of Pinellas County students are attending school in-person, down from 60 percent in late August, according to a district spokeswoman.

The number of virtual students has risen slightly, from 40 percent in August to 44 percent as of October 1.

The second quarter starts October 27.