Gainesville Schools implement ‘virtual Fridays,’ block schedule in response to covid increase
In response to increased numbers of active covid-19 cases in the county and in the district, Gainesville Schools announced Thursday that, beginning Friday, Sept. 25, it will institute block scheduling in its junior high and high school buildings and that virtual learning from home will be implemented on all upcoming Fridays through the end of the semester.
The change means all Gainesville students will stay home on Fridays and use Chromebook computers or take-home materials to complete assigned classwork.
And, as if a pandemic isn’t enough of a headache for the schools to contend with, to complicate matters, the City of Gainesville’s east-side water system failed Friday, forcing the school to close Monday and Tuesday while the city repaired the problem. At press time Tuesday, Gainesville superintendent Justin Gilmore said he hoped the water system repair would be completed so that classes could resume Wednesday.
The earlier announcement outlining the school’s response to the increase in covid cases said that, although students will not be on campus on Fridays, the school calendar is not changing and that previously scheduled days off will still be days off. Extracurricular and sports activities on Fridays will still take place, the announcement said.
Students were reminded that all virtual-Friday work is required and will be graded like regular classwork.
Devices would be available for students who do not have internet access so they can complete their work.
The new block scheduling for junior high and senior high students means the school day will be divided into four extended classes each day instead of the usual seven regular-length classes, with students attending their scheduled classes in person on alternating days each week plus the virtual Friday class. It’s expected that the block schedule approach will reduce student contact “while keeping our school atmosphere as normal as possible,” the announcement said.