POLK COUNTY – Around 60,000 devices will be deployed to students once Polk County Public School’s Spring Break is over March 30, meaning that learning will continue in an online capacity as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the daily life of Polk residents and people around the world.

“Distance learning will begin for PCPS students after spring break,” PCPS Senior Director of Communications Rachel Pleasant said. “Students will be held accountable for participation and their work will be graded.”

Following an order from Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education, all school buildings will remain closed through April 15. Districts around the state were also given instructions to enact some type of remote learning system by March 30.

PCPS has also created an online resource center for teachers that includes information on topics such as taking attendance, communicating with parents and students in an online environment, managing virtual office hours and online options for professional development, according to a March 20 press release.

High school seniors and eighth-graders who need credits to graduate will be given first priority. Only one device will be issued per family. PCPS has published its ICP at https://polkschoolsfl.com/icp/. Staff and parents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the plan during the March 23-37 break.

“I commend my staff for their diligent work on this plan,” Polk Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said. “For weeks, they have carefully considered the dynamics of our district: our English Language Learners, our students with special needs and the areas of the county where internet access is scarce. They have carefully crafted this plan to ensure students continue receiving a high-quality education even during these very challenging times.”

Local internet service providers are offering assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. PCPS has published information on these offers at polkschoolsfl.com/survey.

During the closure, Polk Schools staff will be deep-cleaning the district’s campuses and school buses, as well as providing school breakfasts and lunches at food distribution sites. Information on the lunch distribution program can be found at https://polkschoolsfl.com/lunchlocations/.

More details about the school district’s response to coronavirus can be found at https://polkschoolsfl.com/healthinformation.