The Broward County School Board held a workshop Tuesday to discuss options for reopening campuses for the 2020-2021 school year, and set a date for when schools are expected to reopen.
Board members and Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie discussed different options for reopening schools, as well as the results of the reopening survey of parents and guardians, teachers, staff and students.
The district set a date of August 19 for reopening schools. Students will likely receive a blend of in-class instruction and distance learning when the school year starts.
Runcie said the goal is to have students receive at least 50% of their learning time inside a classroom.
“We know that whatever we do it won’t be ideal because the only ideal thing is to open schools at 100% and if we felt we could do that and balance all the health and safety requirements I wouldn’t be here in front of you," Runcie said.
Runcie said students and parents may not know until late July or early August what their schedules will be.
The survey showed a plurality of teachers and students prefer the mix of online and classroom instruction. Teachers union president Anna Fusco said the majority of her members want a return to something resembling normal.
"I’m hearing more and more are OK with going back and there’s a group that is concerned, it’s not that they don’t want to go back because they want to teach, they are legitimately afraid for their health," Fusco said.
The survey also showed 36% of parents want schools to fully reopen. Runcie said if that was a safe option, he would do it now to try and make up for the loss of education the students see from distance learning.
"So the longer our kids are out of school the greater the concern I have and I know there are students that are in unstable home environments so the safest place for them to be is in our schools," Runcie said.
Broward Public Schools closed their doors in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, shifting to e-learning for the remainder of the school year.