MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade School Board has voted to begin a staggered reopening of in-person learning starting Oct. 5.
Pre-K, kindergarten, first grade and ESE students will be allowed to return that Monday.
The rest of the elementary school grades will be allowed back on Oct. 7.
Also allowed back Oct. 7 will be middle school students in sixth grade and high school students in ninth and 10th.
Middle school students in seventh and eighth as well as high school students in 11th and 12th can return on Oct. 9.
Parents can opt to keep their children at home if they prefer distance learning amid the pandemic.
A school building must meet all 41 safety indicators cited the district’s plan for readiness.
If a school does not meet the requirements, then they won’t be forced to open.
“But there is a pathway for that. There is an opportunity through the commissioner’s letter that provides for an amendment,” said Miami-Dade Schools Board Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon. “If a school or a set of schools are not ready, then we have an opportunity, and the superintendent has an obligation to file that amendment and notify the board as it relates to schools that are not ready.”
The meeting came after state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran called on the district to reopen by Oct. 5.
As the meeting began, parents expressed their opposition. They don’t feel safe sending their children back to in-person learning.
“Not all the desks are socials distanced… There is not proper hand sanitizers. It would be a death sentence,” parents said.
The United Teachers of Dade, along with educators and community members led a caravan, protesting to delay reopening as agreed upon, to secure the safety and health of the whole community.
Last week, Miami-Dade’s School Board approved a proposal for a staggered reopening beginning Oct. 14 and would have all students back on campus by Oct. 21.
Corcoran said that was too late.
In a letter addressed to Superintendent Carvalho and Board Chair Perla Tabares-Hantman, he said parents need to be given the option to return their children to in-person learning by Oct. 5, noting the county has been in “Phase 2” of reopening for two weeks.
“Superintendents and their teams must roll up their sleeves and go school-by-school, grade-by-grade, and classroom-by-classroom to thoughtfully determine how parents that desire in-person for their children can be accommodated,” Corcoran stated in the letter.
Originally, Miami-Dade schools were going to return in phases on the dates of Sept. 30, Oct. 5 and Oct. 7.
That changed, though, after an outcry from teachers and parents.
In a letter to the district, Corcoran said if they couldn’t reopen by Oct. 5, they would have to prove exemptions on a school by school basis by this Friday.
Broward’s School Board received a similar letter from Corcoran.
All other Florida school districts have already opened for face-to-face learning.