BROWARD (CBSMiami) – The school year that no one will ever forget is almost over.
Meanwhile, deep discussions are well underway at Broward School district headquarters on what the 2020-2021 school year will look like.
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said one option being considered for the upcoming school year is a blended learning model.
Here’s how that might work — 50% of students in a class may go to school on Mondays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays and Fridays, they will distance learn at home. The situation will be reversed for the other 50% of students in that class. On Wednesdays, the district might do deep cleaning at schools, provide necessary social emotional counseling while students distance learn at home.
Under this plan, students get back into the classroom and back into the school environment albeit on a limited basis with emphasis on social distancing.
“I think it’s absolutely essential that we open our schools at the start of this school year in some form or fashion,” Runcie told CBS 4 News.
Runcie said he understands having kids at home several days a week may cause some hardships for working families, but said protecting health is the goal.
“That is one of the downsides of that model but our number one priority is health and safety,” Runcie said. “I don’t see us opening our schools where we’re gonna be 100% capacity, so yes, that’s gonna create some continued inconvenience for families.”
This is just one idea that the school district will consider and will adapt based on changing circumstances.
“We need to have a number of different options that we can implement and modify, based on the conditions as they exist in our community,” Runcie said.
Many aspects of the school year will change, including busing. Runcie said the new normal will also require changes to how many students they can put on buses.
“We’re gonna have to figure what’s the best number to transport?” he said.
Another consideration — whether kids will eat in their classrooms or in a socially distanced cafeteria.
“We know we have to feed our kids but we’ll figure that out,” he said.
Runcie also sees sports returning.
“We believe that by the end of the summer we’ll be able to get back engaged in sports,” Runcie said.
Parents and caregivers have mixed opinions. Lauren Maslin’s son, Jake, is heading into 5th grade. She wants him back in school full time.
“They need to be in school,” she said. “They need to be around their friends. They need to be taught in person.”
Ricardo Housen helps his two younger brothers with their schoolwork. He believes everyone has to be flexible.
“We’re just gonna have to work with it until everybody, until scientists find a vaccine,” Housen said.
Runcie said flexibility is key and will be vital for parents and students to understand and implement proper social distancing once the school year begins in August.
“For this to work, it’s gonna take the cooperation and collaboration of our parents and students to make this work,” he said.
Runcie hopes to have a consensus on the back to school plan after the school board’s workshop on June 16.
A spokesperson for Miami-Dade Schools they are still analyzing the results of more than 100,000 surveys parents filled out on back to school plans. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has said they’re considering numerous options and hope to have a final plan in place by the end of June.