April 9, is the last day for public school students to pre-register for the next school year by selecting a model of learning.
The early registration period is key to GDOE's plan for the next school year, which focuses on returning students to the classroom.
Fernandez said there are two options for learning next year; parents can either select Face-to-Face (FTF) instruction or Online learning.
While the department is pushing registration, Fernandez said he understands that some parents are hesitant to register now.
"We know that maybe parents are waiting to determine whether they wanted to be online or Face-to-Face (FTF)."
After April 9, GDOE will be able to determine the number of Online vs. FTF students and schedule them for the next school year.
"Our expectation and hope is to get five days of instruction back to a more normal schedule next school year, but it really depends on nailing down those numbers organizing our teachers for those that are going to teach FTF and those online and then making sure those schedules work," said Fernandez.
The department can't wait to get the numbers so that GDOE can test the schedules and get ready for next year.
Fernandez said some parents may be waiting to see the SY 2021-2022 detailed plan before selecting a learning model. For these parents, he encouraged them to register anyway.
"What I am going to recommend is that they sign up for online because right now we are going to support those who are online, but if they wish to transition to FTF, I think that's our goal. We want more students FTF," said Fernandez.
He said GDOE would support students transitioning from Online to FTF.
"Going the other way is going to be something that we are discussing right now and may not be able to support going from FTF to online," said Fernandez.
The reason, GDOE officials, believe that FTF instruction is the best solution for many students' academic success, especially younger students.
"We are giving the option right now because we are just transitioning back to a more normal circumstance. We still have Public Health issues to worry about and PH guidelines to continue to make sure are in place, so we are still giving the Online option," said Fernandez.
Ultimately, GDOE is working on a total return to the classroom; however, Fernandez stressed that GDOE is committed to providing supports for education as the transition occurs.
"Again if they need laptops or devices for internet access, those are available," said Fernandez