Broward Superintendent: Get Your Kids Back to School

Robert Runcie says more students and teachers will be in classrooms next semester

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The third marking period starts next week, and Broward County Public Schools has a message for parents: if at all possible, send your kids back to the schoolhouse. 

“What I’m trying to get our parents to understand is one, if your child is struggling they need to be back in school, number two, we are working to change our institutional model to the greatest extent that we can, primarily at the elementary level where the teachers in the classroom will be teaching directly to those students,” said Superintendent Robert Runcie. 

So far this school year, only 27% of Broward Public Schools kids are back on campus. The district hopes to raise that to at least 40%, but that means, the superintendent says, they need all teachers to come back on Monday, including teachers who have been given accommodations to teach from home. 

On Thursday, the Broward Teachers Union filed a lawsuit against the district, saying it’s not fair to require the 1,500 teachers who received health accommodations to teach from their classrooms, potentially exposing them to COVID-19.

On Friday, Runcie announced 600 of those teachers had been given extensions, or new remote teaching assignments. 

“This is not a response to any lawsuit, I can’t comment on a lawsuit, we didn’t just wake up today and grant 600 of these, this is an ongoing process,” Runcie said.

Runcie said more accommodations might be granted, depending on individual health issues and the situation with staffing and students at any given school. He reiterated that data locally and nationwide show schools have not been spreader environments for the virus, and said again that teachers should be priorities for vaccination. 

“The issues that we’re discussing today, many of them would be eliminated if we were able to have the vaccine,” Runcie said.

Broward County’s legislative delegation promised to push for teachers to have vaccine priority.

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