By Brooke Shafer

DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The new school started Wednesday in Broward and it began in the same way last year ended – online.

Students weren’t on campus, but teachers were given the option to teach from their classrooms.

“Obviously we would love to see all our kids and families lining up and coming in, but we’d rather have our kids our teachers safe,” said Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Runcie stopped by Nova Blanche Forman Elementary School in Davie early Wednesday morning.

Julia Williams, who teaches 4th grade, chose the option of teaching virtually from her classroom.

“It’s a lot of navigation today,” she said.

Navigating a new school year online came with some technical challenges too.

“The District’s Canvas system experienced brief intermittent issues for some users logging in from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 8:50 a.m. The issues were resolved by 8:50 a.m., and students have since been logging in smoothly to access their instructional resources,” according to a statement from the district.

Parents at Driftwood Middle School received an email just before at 9 a.m. which said “The County is having challenges with Canvas,” the program students and teachers use for virtual learning. One parent told CBS4 they were able to log in about an hour later.

“Whatever those issues maybe, they will get resolved within the next couple days. If you’re struggling with some of those technical issues, call your school,” said Runcie.

“It wasn’t a capacity system issue. It was a hundred people trying to get thru the door. We’re gonna have a bigger door tomorrow,” he said.

Nova Blanche Forman Elementary School Principal Russ Schwartz said they also worked with parents on some technical or log in issues.

“We had a few but that’s to be expected. We have a team in our office that is ready, that is handling it call by call,” he said.

Runcie said the goal now with a fully online platform is to keep students engaged.

He added that they will keep the students on a set schedule to preserve structure and keep things as normal as possible.

“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, the superintendent said they will evaluate the numbers and discuss them with the school board every two weeks. Runcie said Wednesday morning, once the county gets to a roughly 3 to 5 percent positivity rate for coronavirus cases, the district will discuss a hybrid learning model with students learning from home, the classroom, or a mix of both. To get there, he said it will take a community effort.

“Please do your part. 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,” said Runcie.

Parents who need childcare help during the school day can head to this website.

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