In Palm Beach County, students virtually went back-to-school on August 31, 2020. Photo courtesy of John Schnobrich.

Back-To-School: Updated Protocols and Programs

As students return back-to-school, isn’t the sound we expected to hear at the start of a school year. It isn’t the screech of bus brakes or the sharp pitch of the school bell ringing. Instead, it is the clickety-clack of parents helping their kids log online to join virtual classrooms in the age of COVID-19. And, there’s no way to describe our school situation other than this – it’s tough. 

At Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) and the Juno Beach Pier (JBP), we can’t thank our teachers enough. Thank you for the empathy, guidance, understanding, and dedication that you bring to students during these turbulent times. And, to show our gratitude, we are extending our learning space and expertise to hopefully lessen the load just a little bit. As students virtually return back-to-school, we have updated our protocols and programs, effective August 3l, for LMC and the JBP.

Virtual Programming 

Coastal Classrooms

To support students, teachers, and parents as students go back-to-school, Loggerhead Marinelife Center launched a Coastal Classroom and free virtual resources.

Does your child perform better in a different creative space? Now, our team at Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Coastal Classroom is offering a safe learning space for students (ages 8 and older) to conduct their virtual classwork during the distance learning phase of the School District of Palm Beach County’s Reopening Plans

The Coastal Classroom will provide each student with a learning space, wifi connection, technical support, and mid-day activities for a fun nature-inspired reprieve from classwork. Hours are Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., extended hours program is offered from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for an additional cost. 

Abiding by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Camp Association (ACA) best practices, we are:

  • restricting students’ capacity to 12 students per room to accommodate strict and safe social distancing. 
  • increasing sanitation, cleaning, and disinfectant protocols.
  • requiring daily health screenings of Coastal Learning Lounge staff, volunteers, and all participating students, including hands-free temperature checks coupled with a zero-tolerance policy for any symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • requiring face coverings for all staff, volunteers, and participating students.

Students are required to bring a laptop, headset with microphone, lunch/snacks, and any other materials needed to conduct their individual classwork. 

Homeschool Workshops

Perhaps learning at home has always been your way of life. If so, add some flavor to it with our homeschool workshops

Currently, our education staff is now offering virtual workshops exclusively for homeschool students (ages 6-9 and 10-13). This workshop series features hands-on activities and focuses on various marine science topics, including marine biology, coastal ecology, veterinary science, fisheries, oceanography, and ocean conservation.

Sessions involve a one-hour LIVE lesson led by a staff biologist via Zoom and a 30-minute at-home activity ranging in topics.

To supplement all education, we’ve added an abundance of free, STEM-based resources to our Educator’s Portal and Virtual Coastal Classroom.

Don’t Fish and Flounder Your Grades 

While students are back-to-school, the Juno Beach Pier requires all minors to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Photo courtesy of Matthew Mcbrayer.

We encourage young anglers to enjoy the outdoors at the Juno Beach Pier. However, we advise students to stick to the books before reeling in their best catch. 

To that end, all students ages 16 years or younger must be accompanied on the pier by a parent or guardian who must stay with the student angler on the pier. This policy will be in effect during the PBC school year, Monday through Friday, starting at a half-hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. After 2 p.m., all students are allowed on the pier without supervision.

Despite the challenges, opportunities abound for those who make the most of the world as we know it. And that means starting strong and dreaming big this school year. From our staff to your virtual classroom, best wishes for a successful year ahead!

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Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 360,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.