Orange County Public School Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins waves to returning students at Winter Park High School, Friday, August 21, 2020

From the Orange County Public School (OCPS) Newsroom

Under an umbrella to shelter from the rain, Superintendent Barbara Jenkins greeted students at Winter Park High School last Friday on the first day of face-to-face on campus for the 2020-21 school year. Due to the pandemic, students have not been on campus since last spring and aside from wearing masks, it looked like the first day of school – students waved to friends they hadn’t seen in a while and lost students asked adults for directions to their first period.

Per Dr. Jenkins’ tradition, she visited schools throughout the district to welcome students and staff back for the year. In addition to WPHS, she visited OCPS ACE, Lockhart Elementary, Liberty Middle and the three new elementary schools: Summer Lake, Sunshine, Vista Pointe.

So far, nearly 70,000 students have returned to schools across the district. That is about 30 percent of all students enrolled who chose the face-to-face option given to parents last month. The other 65 percent chose LaunchED@Home and 5 percent selected Orange County Virtual School.

At each school, Dr. Jenkins was impressed with the extra attention to health and safety measures put in place with assistance from district staff, especially Safety and Emergency Management. Students and staff donned face masks and gave air hugs. Plus, floor markings indicated six feet of spacing and directional arrows managed hall traffic.

“The children were so excited. It makes a huge impact. The principal and adults were excited, as well. It’s so good to have children back on campus,” Dr. Jenkins said. “I love interacting with some of the younger children who have not been in school before – it’s different for them.”

Orange County Public Schools remains committed to its vision and mission: To ensure every student has a promising and successful future. With the support of families and the community, they seek to create an enriching and diverse pathways to lead students to success. 


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