What to Know
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools unveiled a tentative plan for the 2020-2021 academic year
- If the county reaches Phase 2 of reopening by the time school starts, students will be able to go back to in-person learning for at least some days out of the week
- Parents have also been given the choice of selecting an exclusively online-learning enrollment model if they do not feel comfortable sending their children to school
Miami-Dade County Public schools now have a tentative plan in place to guide their reopening in the fall, but whether or not students actually return to classes full-time will depend on how Florida's coronavirus outbreak progresses.
"M-DCPS strives to safely return students to the physical schoolhouse but recognizes that doing so will not be possible while Miami-Dade County remains in Phase 1 of The Plan for Florida’s Recovery," education officials said in a press release.
As a result, Miami-Dade schools' plan for the 2020-2021 academic year outlines three models designed to help schools "rapidly pivot" between phases if necessary.
The first two models offer students the chance to take traditional classes in person, but these plans will only be feasible if the county moves to Phase 2. The third model is made up entirely of virtual distance learning.
Miami-Dade Schools are giving parents an extended deadline of July 15 to vote on which of the enrollment plans they desire for their children.
Schoolhouse Daily Attendance Model (5 days a week in school):
- Offers the opportunity for students to return to the traditional school experience
- Every effort will be made to maintain as much social distancing as possible
- Class sizes will be reduced, larger spaces like cafeterias and gymnasiums can be used to maximize distancing
- Teachers are to use a "blended learning model" to be prepared for potential building closure
- Students with disabilities will be placed in separate classroom settings
Hybrid Model (Alternating 2/3 days a week in school with virtual learning):
- Students will be separated into cohorts which come to physical every other day, or every two consecutive days
- Students will receive instruction both in a physical school and online via virtual classes
- Teachers will be provided with special curriculum to provide a "seamless transition" between content provided in-person and content provided online
My School Online (5 days a week online):
- Available for those who wish to take online classes full-time but still maintain their connection to their enrolled schools
- Designed based on feedback received from parents during the recent school closures, and incorporates many of the features that parents and students valued, such as a single online platform to access digital course content and real-time interaction with teachers each day for every class
- Counseling, therapies and other mental health services will be provided to students
Currently, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach are the only three counties in Florida that are still in Phase 1 of reopening. As South Florida's coronavirus outbreak continues to grow at an alarming rate and Miami-Dade's mayor implements renewed shutdowns and curfews, the fate of the area's schools for the fall is currently indiscernible.
But if Miami-Dade does reach Phase 2 by August, then schools will be able to choose between the Schoolhouse Daily Attendance Model or the Hybrid model depending on their building utilization rates (this is the student enrollment divided by the permanent capacity of the school). Schools that expect to be more fully packed with students will opt for the Hybrid model.
"The reopening approach is comprehensive in nature and is informed by what is happening internationally, as well as following national and state guidance, and local decisions," the press release read.
"In response to parents and guardians who may be uneasy about sending their children to school, despite stringent safety measures that will be implemented, M-DCPS will offer non-schoolhouse learning options to parents during Phase 2. The District’s goal is that upon entering Phase 3, all students will return to the schoolhouse."
Additionally, the plan outlined a list of safety measures that will be enforced if schools do reopen, including the following:
- Facial coverings will be required at all times in school facilities, except when doing strenuous exercise or eating
- Hand-washing and hand-sanitizing will be promoted and encouraged in high-traffic areas
- A hospital-grade germicide will be used for routine sanitization of hallways, classrooms, restrooms and other facilities throughout the day
- Screening protocols will be in place for all visitors
- Capacity limitations will be in place for restrooms and elevators
- More bus stops will be added to Miami-Dade School Bus routes to facilitate social distancing
- Pick-up and drop-off at the schools will be designed to maximize social distancing
- Food service options are being considered to minimize crowds
- A phased approach will be taken to athletic programs following CDC guidelines
To select an enrollment plan for their children, Miami-Dade Schools parents can access a short questionnaire on the Parent Portal or the Dade Schools mobile app. They can also email or print the form and deliver it directly to their child's school.