BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward County Public Schools students will begin their first day of classes Wednesday.

This year, however, they will not be heading to the bus stop or going to check out their new classrooms.

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Even though children and teachers will not have the typical first day of school experience, Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie said they are prepared for the virtual launch.

“I can tell you we’ve been working really hard this summer,” he said.  “Our teachers have been engaged in a tremendous amount of training to make sure that the ‘e-learning’ experience will be different than what we had in the spring. It’s going to be engaging. It’s going to be enriching, and our kids are going to learn.”

We caught up with him at a school supply giveaway, which was put together by the Miami Marlins, AutoNation and Kiwanis Club of Little Havana.

They had enough to give free supplies away to about 9,000 students.

“Our students, although they will be learning virtually, they still need supplies,” Runcie said. “They still need resources in order to be effective learners, in order to engage.”

He said they will keep children on a set schedule to preserve structure and keep things as normal as possible.

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“They’re still going to be engaging with their teachers. Live video chats are going to be an essential component of what we do. All of our services, mental health counseling, those are going to be continued. We do those virtually as well,” he said.

As far as getting back to school in person, Superintendent Runcie said he will evaluate the numbers and discuss with the School Board every two weeks.

He had originally set October 1 as a tentative date to return to classrooms.

However, now they’re going to monitor biweekly and go from there.

He has previously said the COVID-19 positivity rate in the county must be under 5% for at least two consecutive weeks before schools can reopen.

When they do return, it will likely be a hybrid model at first, with some e-learning and some in-person.

To get there, Runcie said it will take a community effort.

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“Please do your part,” he said.  “Wear your masks. Continue to physical distance. Doing those measures will help us to get our kids back on our campuses and back at school.”

Karli Barnett