It’s been hinted at for several weeks, but now it’s official policy: Broward County Public Schools wants everyone back at school next fall, students and teachers.
“It is our intention, as a school system, to open up, full time, in-person this coming fall,” Superintendent Robert Runcie said Monday in an interview.
Right now, about 45% of BCPS students are in the classrooms, with the rest choosing remote learning. At schools, everyone wears masks, they practice social distancing, and Runcie says next year, there will still be Covid safety rules.
“Similar protocols, there’s obviously gonna be some adjustments, with physical distancing for example, that would be consistent with what the CDC’s recently said in terms of relaxing those," Runcie said. "The other component is that we’ve now been able to offer all of our teachers and staff the opportunity to be vaccinated, so that presents another level of protection."
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The president of the Broward Teachers Union, Anna Fusco, told NBC 6 on the phone she has no objection to the district’s plan to fully reopen schools.
NBC 6 also reached out to a couple of parents who have been pandemic education activists.
“I think it’s great, I’m actually excited to go back to the traditional learning. My kids need it, my fourth grader needs to be back in school every day,” said Rod Velez, who has two sons in a Broward County public school.
Schools and COVID
John Moreno Escobar has a son in Kindergarten who has been learning from home.
“I believe many of us are looking forward to having our kids full time, in-person instruction, not with computers in front, not with the screens in front, but direct instruction from our teachers to the students,” Moreno Escobar said.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools says it fully expects its schools to be 100% in-person next fall but has not yet turned that expectation into official policy.
Each school district also will provide some level of virtual learning for students who need to stay home, and the districts are also planning extensive summer school to not only bring students back up to par academically but also to provide enrichment opportunities.
Many students missed out on arts, music, and field trips during the pandemic. Those opportunities will be offered in the summer.