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Many Miami-Dade Parents Surveyed Want Schools Reopened; Superintendent Says Not So Fast

Earlier this week, 140,000 had responded with a majority saying they want their kids to be physically in school if pandemic conditions permit it

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Wednesday was the last day for Miami-Dade Public Schools parents to fill out a survey asking what modality of learning they would prefer for their kids in the fall, physically in classrooms or staying at home for distance learning.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says everyone acknowledges classroom instruction is far superior to remote instruction, but says students won’t be coming back to campus until the COVID-19 numbers improve substantially.

“I can tell you one thing: if schools were to open tomorrow on the basis of what the data indicates today, it would be a no-go for physical schooling,” Carvalho told said. He told the school board essentially the same thing in Wednesday’s virtual meeting.

Tuesday, Broward County Public Schools superintendent Robert Runcie recommended that his district’s schools restart with distance learning only, until the COVID positivity rates come down.

“That is the only way we can educate our students while keeping them and their teachers healthy and safe,” said Runcie.

“We do have time on our side, Broward County schools begin a week earlier than we do, we don’t begin until the 24th, we have flexibility from the state for a later start to the school year should we want to,” Carvalho explained.

More than half of Miami-Dade parents, about 55%, said on the survey they want their kids physically in schools. Carvalho said the feasibility of students and teachers actually being in classrooms depends on the advice of infectious disease experts.

“The committee of medical experts yesterday strongly and unanimously agreed on this element: that we should not be bringing students and teachers back to a physical experience at school unless the positivity rate is below 10% and trending toward 5%, that was the most important element,” Carvalho said.

Wednesday’s positivity rate in Miami-Dade County was above 30%, not even close to the minimum threshold. So at what point does the district throw in the towel and turn to distance learning to start the school year?

Carvalho would not commit to a timetable, saying he wants to give the community as much time as possible to turn the numbers around, urging everyone to wear masks, practice social distancing and do what it takes to flatten the curve and get our kids back into school.

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