MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Charter Schools USA, one of the largest operators of ‘public schools of choice’ in South Florida, is returning to ‘in-person’ learning.

Seven of their Broward charter schools began allowing children to voluntarily return to the classrooms this week.

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Their Miami-Dade charter schools will begin face to face learning next week.

It is a phased-in approach. Not all grade levels are returning on the same day.

At Renaissance Charter at University in Tamarac, for example, they have started with just kindergarten and first grade.

Teacher Vincent Tavolacci says he is happy with face to face learning.

“With kids, it has brought life back in the building. School isn’t school without children,” he says.

Renaissance teachers have been doing lessons ‘online only’ since the new school year started in August.

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Now, they are teaching students physically present and online if families choose that option.

Charter Schools USA says they took a collaborative approach to reopening, talking to
the governing boards, teachers, and parents.

“It was a chance to have a voice. Change breeds anxiety and it allows everyone to make an informed choice,” says Renaissance principal, Lashonda White.

The charter schools have been planning and practicing a return to in-person learning.

Desks are deliberately spaced. The hallways have arrows to reduce traffic, sinks for bathrooms are color-coded to keep children at a safe distance.

About a third of the students have returned. The rest remain at home online. Instruction is helped with a device called the owl.

It’s a smart camera that captures a 360-degree view, so students feel like they are sitting in the classroom.

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All USA Charter School grades throughout South Florida are expected to be back for in-person learning by October 5th.