Schools move to online learning

OKEECHOBEE — Schools across Okeechobee County will sit empty for at least the next three and a half weeks.

Although no students will be present on campus, kids in Okeechobee will still be learning. For the next few weeks instruction will be delivered in an online format.

At the present time the Florida Department of Education (FDOE)plans to maintain the current schedule and have the school year end on May 29. To keep that schedule and not have school extend into the summer, it will be mandatory that students participate in online learning. Any device that can access the internet can be used to take part in online learning. Students just have to visit the district’s sign-on portal at https://portal.okee.k12.fl.us. If you’re unable to locate your child’s email address or password to sign in to the portal, you can contact the district’s IT help line at 863-462-5704 during business hours and 863-462-5749 after hours.

If your child doesn’t have a device that can connect to the internet, the school district will be distributing Chromebooks this upcoming week.

Chromebooks can be picked up for Okeechobee elementary and middle school students from the bus circles at your child’s school site on Thursday, March 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. When you arrive at the bus circle, to help ensure a smooth flow of traffic, do not exit your vehicle. Chromebooks will be brought to each family by school staff. It is required that you provide a photo ID and your child’s name when checking out a Chromebook.

The district reports that it has an ample supply of Chromebooks, so no family should worry about being without a device during this period.

For families who may not have access to the internet at home the district is in the process of adding additional access points to ensure that WiFi signal is available in all school parking lots. Also, Comcast plans to offer free service for the next 60 days under their Xfinity Internet Essentials plan for low-income households in an effort to accommodate schools and families during this period. Normally the plan costs $9.95 per month.

Seniors in high school can still graduate, and will be required to meet the credits and 2.0 GPA requirements for graduation. All assessment-related graduation requirements have been waived by the state of Florida.

For now, the district says it is committed to ensuring that this year’s senior class has the opportunity to celebrate their achievements with a graduation ceremony, but are closely monitoring the developments and guidance from the CDC and the FDOE.

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