MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade schools chief Alberto Carvalho has said that the new normal that students and parents will see in August is going to be very different from the new normal we abandoned at the end of the third quarter this past school year.
Just like Broward County, Miami-Dade County public schools is preparing for the 2020-2021 school year to look much different because of the coronavirus.
Carvalho laid out three possible models we may see come the fall:
The first model, a traditional return to schools for parents that have the ability and believe the conditions are satisfactory.
The second model is one that relies on distance learning for parents who believe that their best interests are served with children at home. But it will also include a hybrid model.
This announcement comes on the heels of Governor Ron DeSantis’ return to school plan that will have a gradual approach. It’s one that will vary from district to district.
The plan also includes more than 200 million dollars from the Cares act. some of that money is earmarked for getting students up to speed on things like reading. Especially those who fell behind because of remote learning.
Carvalho says the governor’s plans reflect the suggestions made by Miami-Dade County. The school district will announce their plans for reopening on June 24th and it will include input and surveys from parents and teachers. Broward will discuss theirs at a school board hearing on Tuesday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran unveiled their plan on Thursday to reopen schools for in-person learning in the fall of 2020.
Part of that plan involves improving the reading skills of the state’s youngest students who have fallen further behind because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Standing unmasked and shoulder to shoulder with nine other unmasked officials at a Melbourne community center, DeSantis announced a $64 million plan that will include month-long summer programs for kindergarten to fifth-grade students who have been identified as poor readers.
Money will also be provided to districts to buy supplemental teaching materials for kindergarten to third grade classes and to train 2,000 reading coaches statewide.
The goal is to have 90% of students be proficient readers by 2024, DeSantis said.
While the governor said he believes Florida has one of the most effective distance-learning programs, he said there is no true replacement for face-to-face learning between students and teachers.
“At the end of the day distance learning is distance learning and there’s just no substitute for those hands on instructions.”
The governor also announced that he would be using $223 million in federal money through the CARES Act to fund the return of students to classrooms.
“We’ve been able to provide a roadmap to announce the return of our schools to on-campus instruction, and to bring long-term improvements to the instructional continuity, using the federal funds provided through the CARES Act to make significant investments in our education system achievement gaps.”
The money will be used to expand vocational programs at the state’s community colleges, reimburse childcare centers that remained open during the shutdown and assist closed childcare centers with reopening.
The announcements came as the state’s percentage of positive COVID-19 tests continued an upward trend that began Memorial Day, shortly after Florida began reopening.
As of Thursday, Florida had more than 69,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, a one-day jump of almost 1,700, the highest reported in a single day since the state’s first cases were discovered in early March.
The state had almost 2,850 coronavirus-related deaths and the percentage of positive tests has grown from 2.3% two weeks ago to more than 4% this week, which mirrors some other states.
The Governor attributes the rise to an increase in testing.
“As you’re testing more, you’re going to find more cases and most of the cases are subclinical cases. And we expected that from the beginning. We’re doing 30 plus thousand tests a day in terms of results on average.”
Despite the increase, DeSantis says schools can reopen “because the cases are not indicative of any clinical consequences. For example, our hospitalizations are flat. ICU use is half of what it was in April for this.”
So the state plans to reopen schools this fall with each county school board setting its own schedule and plan for protecting their employees.
“Getting back on our feet in the school year is going to be really, really important for the well-being of our kids, but I also think it is important for a lot of parents who have had to juggle an awful lot,” DeSantis said. He said the state will work with districts to make sure they have sufficient sanitation supplies and personal protective equipment for their teachers and employees.
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said he believes school reopening can be done safely, saying children and teenagers are “at extremely low-risk” to get sick from the virus or spread it.
“We want schools fully open in the fall because there is no better way to teach our kids,” he said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)