MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced the district was prepared to extend at-home learning for its 350,000 students as long as necessary.
Carvalho was responding to comments from Gov. Ron DeSantis that he was signing an executive order urging those in South Florida to stay home through mid-May.
“We have the financial resources to do this,” said Carvalho. ” Conditions are less than ideal but we have to do what is necessary.”
DeSantis said, “I would say safe at home in Southeast Florida. This is the time to do the right thing and listen to all your local officials. I hope that once this is under control we can go back to enjoying life the way we’re used to.”
Carvalho added, “We have the financial resources to continue this approach to feeding and learning until the end of the school year which is June. Obviously this is disruptive and less than ideal but folks it is necessary. I realize that people are getting cabin fever but I cannot accept the possibility that any student, teacher or employee would be put at risk. It is clear from example from around the world that isolation, self-isolation and sheltering at home as much as possible is one of the best preventative ways to actually stop the explosiveness of COVID-19.”
He also announced that 76,000 mobile devices have been distributed for at-home learning and the school system was prepared to distribute 200,000 devices.
“There is no reason why any child in our community should not have the access to digital content from the safety and security of their home,” he said.
He is making an appeal for parents to pick them up for their youngsters at any of the district’s six different centers.
He added that all full-time, part-time and hourly employees will continue to get paid.
Monday morning, Carvalho was at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School where breakfast and lunch meals were distributed to parents. He also plans to be at Northwestern Senior High School from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. where such meals will be distributed every day.
“We have a moral imperative to help people and prevent them from going hungry,” Carvalho told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. ” This is food for youngsters that their parents need.”
“I am very grateful for this. This food is hard to find at a supermarket and we need this for students,” said parent Andrea Gonzalez.
Ivan Parra, a parent and teacher, said, “What is good for the students is good for everyone.”
Beginning Tuesday, meals will only be served from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. so as not to interrupt the virtual instruction day.
For a list of sites, go to covid19.dadeschools.net.
In Broward County, Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said he was prepared for at home learning to last much longer.
“So unless something changes dramatically,” he said, “we are planning to provide this for the remainder of the school year. The current situation is not the future of education. It’s part of it. We are going to embrace this as much as we can. I pay attention to a lot of data and what is coming out of the CDC and Washington.
“The biggest challenge we had today was that with the on-line system some students could not get on,” he said. “It was slow. It was just an issue with the vendor that we are working n with them. It was a problem that they needed to deal with and we were going to address that this afternoon. Contrary to reports, the system did not crash. It just got slow.
“Today, we had over 80,000 users. We actually have the resources to take care of 400,000 users.”
The school system is also passing out meals at more than 50 school locations between 8 a.m and 10 a.m. and 11 a.m and 1 p.m.
“Grab and Go” meals will be offered at 47 schools throughout the district.
For a list of those schools and more information, go to browardschools.com.