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Polk County experiences rough start to e-learning school year

Posted at 4:13 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 17:51:29-04

BARTOW, Fla. — Polk County families had a tough first day of school.

Parents who choose to have their children e-learn from home report technology glitches, inaccurate absences and scheduling difficulties.

Mother of two tenth-grade twins, Laura Kelly, says her daughters' schedules aren’t complete, they were marked absent for one class and some of their classes even overlap during the same period.

“Neither one of them has a full seven classes. And neither one of them has all of their core classes that are required for graduation,” Kelly said

Kelly also says the platforms the district is using, Schoology and Focus, aren’t syncing well.

But, even if parents were experiencing difficulties, Polk County Public Schools also had a hard time responding.

In a statement Monday, PCPS wrote this:

We know that many of our Campus eSchool students encountered various issues today while trying to log in and participate in their online lessons.

In addition, PCPS experienced problems with our phone service that resulted in families not being able to reach the staff in our tech support call center.

We apologize for the trouble. We have identified the issues affecting our eSchool students and call center and are working to resolve them as quickly as possible.

At this time, we have two updates:

- If your child is enrolled in Campus eSchool and was counted absent today due to tech issues, please inform your school. Students will not be penalized for missing classes.

- Some parents have inquired with us about switching from Campus eSchool to Campus Learning (or vice versa). We understand this first day of school has been frustrating for many eSchool families, but we ask that you at least complete the first week of school before considering changing your learning format. PCPS has asked families to make a minimum commitment of nine weeks to either Campus Learning or Campus eSchool. However, if by the end of this week (Aug. 24-28) you decide that you wish to return to campus (or opt for Campus eSchool), you are welcome to contact your school’s administrators to see if they can accommodate a switch.

Thanks again for your patience. We’ll continue working to get the issues fixed to make sure that all PCPS students have a successful year.

In the meantime, please try contacting your school’s network administrator for help with tech problems, or call our support hotline at 863-733-0331 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.”
Polk County Public Schools

Kelly says she knew it was going to be a rocky start and she still plans on keeping her daughters home for health reasons.

Other parents though are already thinking about a switch to in-person learning.

Polk County Public Schools encourages parents to wait nine weeks before making a decision.