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Q&As and Resources for Parents

Updated: March 23, 2020

Below are answers to some common questions educators and parents have about Florida’s students, schools and educators during the coronavirus pandemic. Don’t see your question? Just ask.

Additional and expanded answers are covered in the Florida Department of Education’s March 18 Q&A (PDF, 884 K).


Food Resources for Students

With schools closed until at least April 15, many school districts are providing lunches for students in need. For more information please see your school district’s website.

Hera are som additional food resources for students during these school closings:

  • Summer BreakSpot – Summer BreakSpot locations are a place for kids and teens 18 and under to come and enjoy free meals while school is out. Run by the Fla. Dept of Agriculture.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried activated a text line and call center to find free meals for kids during school closures related to the coronavirus. Floridians can text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 to find the closest participating Summer BreakSpot location with meals available. Residents can also call 2-1-1 to speak with a live operator for additional information.

  • FoodFinder – FoodFinder is a safe, secure and award-winning mobile and web app that gives food insecure children and their families a way to find free food assistance programs quickly.
  • Meals To You – includes an application for emergency meals if your school is closed in response to COVID-19.

General Questions (including promotion, retention, distance learning and IEPs)

What does it mean to be closed until April 15th? When will it be known if we are going to be closed longer?  

This decision is made by the state every two weeks as they learn more from the government and CDC. School districts are to work on distance and digital learning for grades 6-12 to keep students on track for course credit and graduation.

Will parents have ability to request retention?

Yes, if a parent wants to do that and they think it’s best for the student they can do so. Parents should have a conversation with their child’s teacher to discuss this decision. 

How do minutes for digital/distance learning add up for credit for students? 

Right now, FLDOE anticipates the year ending on time as scheduled. However, the Districts have been given flexibility to extend their calendars. This is a working condition that you must impact bargain. The FLDOE guidance is “[we are] trying to give kids as much education as possible with a default of compassion and grace.” 

Are we going to waive instructional time? 

The Governor has given authority to waive instructional hours, but as it stands now, FLDOE believes we can get to the end of the school year on time. School is in session, teachers will be teaching, grades will be given just in distance learning capacity.  

How are we addressing students with IEPs?
To support students with identified IEP-related services who may have a disruption in services, school districts in coordination with a student’s parents and IEP team are given flexibility to work for the remainder of the school year to provide alternative services or delay services until later in the summer months. You can also expand your hospital/homebound programs to accommodate students with IEPs. 

Testing Questions (including AP and IB tests)

How does cancellation of state assessments impact students?

  • All accountability testing for high school seniors, expected to graduate this spring, is waived and they will graduate, but they will still have to finish the semester and ultimately be graded. 
  • For non-seniors, waiving requirements for any course requiring an EOC. For instance, if they’re in algebra they’re waiving the algebra EOC. They won’t need EOC components for their grade or their credit. However, those who haven’t passed the grade 10 ELA must pass it at a future administration, and they still must meet the mathematics requirement before their graduation, if they are not currently a senior.  
  • For grade 3, promotion grade 3 ELA/FSA data won’t be available, so promotion decisions will be made in consolation with parents/teacher based on a student’s classroom performance.  

How will Advanced Placement (AP) exams be affected?

Please see AP Central’s March 20 AP Updates for Schools Impacted by Coronavirus.

How will International Baccalaureate (IB) exams be affected?

On March 23 the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) announced that the May 2020 testing will not be held. Please read their update for complete details.

Submit a question

Do you have a question that doesn’t appear on our list? Send it to us! If it’s a universal question that can benefit others, we will share it out. Many questions will depend on what is being done in your district, so please also contact your local union with individual questions.

Digital Learning Resources for Educators and Parents

Resources for engaging students during the school closure

Q&As for Florida Educators

Common questions about school closures, testing, students with IEPs, evaluations, certifications and more.

Q&As and Resources for Parents

Common questions and resources for parents — including links for meals for students in need.

Advocacy Updates for
COVID-19

Ways for members to take action to protect students, educators, healthcare professionals and working people.

Member Benefit Resources and Links

Overview of the additional resources our benefit partners are providing to help members deal with the COVID pandemic.

AFL-CIO Survival Guide for Unemployment

A PDF guide for working people facing unemployment.

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