Orange Country Public Schools Face Challenges In New School Year
Buses are rolling, bells are ringing - a new school year started today for most kids in Central Florida. However, the opening was made chaotic due to swine flue preparations, power failures, last-minute registrations, and traffic.
Ron Blocker, Orange County Shools Superintendent, said the district had been working with the health department to fight against the spread of swine flu.
"If they [students] are showing signs of flu-like symptoms, we're asking parents to keep them home because the last thing we want to do is to have to close down a school," said Blocker.
If students to become ill, and are suspected of having swine flu, schools will outfit the infected child with a surgical mask to try and stop the spread of the virus. Sick children will be placed in an "isolation room" until their parents arrive.
On top of the swine flu threat, there was also a power outage that caused the Orange County parents who called the school district to deal with an answering machine on the first day of school.The power was not restored until the late afternoon.
The Educational Learning Center lost power around 1:30 Monday afternoon when a transformer blew, officials said. That shut down the phones and Internet -- leaving district workers with no access to the data center that holds attendance and immunization records.
Also, in attempt to save on transportation costs, there was a flip of schedules for all middle and high school students. Currently, under the flip, middle school students had to be in class at 7:30 and high school students had to be in class at 9:30.
Courtney Walling is a junior at Winter Park High who says she wasn't happy to have to get up so early Monday morning. "I'm not ready for the homework and the schedule again," said Walling. "I kind of like just hanging out with my friends and enjoying summer and being relaxed. I'm just not ready for the stresses of school."