The Hancock County School District on Tuesday announced its plan to bring all virtual learners back to classrooms on Monday, Oct. 26. 
There are currently 4,159 students enrolled in the district and 576 of those are long-term distance learners, a release from the school district states. 
As of Oct. 26, all students are expected to be physically present in class or will be counted absent, the release states. 
There are a couple of exceptions: 
  • A student with an extreme underlying health condition. 
  • A student who has a full-time resident of his or her home experiencing an extreme underlying health condition that prevents them from safely attending school.
  • Students with IEP that have a homebound placement. 
Parents of students with one of the above conditions must apply for Medical Long Term Distance Learning, the release states. The application is available on the district’s website and must be completed and submitted by Oct. 20 and parents will be notified before Oct. 26. 
“We know that students learn best when physically at school, interacting with a teacher and classmates,” HCSD Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said in the release. “Many of our students that were distance learners and returned to traditional learning at mid-term of the first nine weeks were not performing well academically. Since their return, we are already seeing improvement.” 
According to the release, “district leaders feel they have been successful with managing positive COVID-19 cases since the return of school. The school district acknowledges that there may come a time in the future when distance learning is required again, however, they realize that for now, it is critically important to have students back at school to make the most of the time they can in the classroom.” 
Dedeaux said the district looks forward to working with parents through this next step. 
“We also look forward to having our students back in school learning and soaring to academic excellence,” he said. 

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