The ongoing discussion of the upcoming school year continues in South Florida. Earlier this afternoon, Broward County Public Schools held a special school board meeting to review the final draft of reopening plans for this upcoming school year.
Returning back to the classroom is not an option for Broward County students due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Students in the county will start online on August 19tH and parents like Susie Gilden, are OK with the decision.
“Just the thought of my daughter going to school everyday, and them doing their best to keep the kids safe, but if they bring it home then she can’t see her grandparents. She can’t see people she loves and I don’t want to infect other people,” said Susie, mother of two.
Susie's youngest daughter attends Silver Ridge Elementary.
She says once the pandemic hit, it was difficult to manage work and distance learning since everyone, including teachers, were learning how to use the online education system.
“I really hope that they have this period to learn and understand to teach virtually, that it’s a stronger education platform,” said Susie.
According to the county’s plan, which was approved by the Florida Department of Education last week, “BCPS will deliver a high-quality elearning environment by providing live and independent learning. Academic departments will provide learning acceleration guidance and support to schools and teachers.”
Last week, Runcie said he hopes to test out in-person instruction for students with disabilities. If staff and families of children with special needs volunteer, Runcie hopes to run this pilot program at a limited number of schools.
"This pilot effort will help us to better learn and understand the issues and challenges which may come up, and how we can mitigate them," he said. "With this effort, and hopefully improved pandemic conditions, we will be able to consider expanding school based instruction for these particular students with disabilities."
Runcie also said parents will have a university of their own that will provide support to help them adjust to online learning.
“I saw the school board is offering a parents education [course] this week, so I’m going to make sure I make the time to tune into that so I understand the tools,” added Susie.
BCPS will continue its planning efforts for a hybrid reopening model and an eventual full reopening once conditions improve.
To find a link to the Special School Board Workshop agenda, click here.