MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade schools will begin a staggered reopening of in-person instruction on Monday.
Returning Earlington Heights Elementary school students in Northwest Miami will notice quite a few changes.
There will be a security checkpoint, cafeteria tables are spaced ou, teachers will be wearing masks. There will be sanitation supplies and students will have to walk in one direction and have an isolation room for health reasons, if needed.
By Zoom, Mayra Mora shows us her classroom at the Irving and Beatrice Peskoe K-8 Center in Homestead, where she has set up for social distancing for students she’s not seen in person in 6 months.
“The preoccupation is safety and that students have a good experience to come back to also that we have safety as teachers and they are safely involved in the building,” said Mora.
She knows what she will tell her students.
“I would tell them welcome back and I am happy to see you. It is not the same. It is going to be the new normal. Everyone will have to wear a mask and keep their distance.”
Mora is also concerned about her own health because of heart issues.
“I know my level of anxiety is through the roof and we will have to wear protective gear.”
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade schools chief Alberto Carvalho said, “Now more than ever parents should stay in communication with the school district and their child’s school and I encourage parents to download the Dade schools mobile app.”
Carvalho urges parents to check their children every morning for symptoms.
“A fever of over 100.4, a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle pain, a loss of taste and smell, soreness of the throat can be indicators of illness.”
And to help families, students can also receive touchless infrared thermometers.
“These will be distributed in the coming weeks,” said Carvalho. “We remain committed to keep children safe while empowering them to acquire the knowledge and skills they need academically and in life.”
Carvalho says if students have coronvirus symptoms, they should stay home until they subside.
Pre-K, kindergarten, first grade and ESE students will return on October 5th.
The rest of the elementary school grades will be allowed back on October 7.
Also allowed back October 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 October 9.
— Alberto M. Carvalho (@MiamiSup) October 1, 2020
Parents can opt to keep their children at home if they prefer distance learning amid the pandemic.
In order to open, a school building must meet all 41 safety indicators cited in the district’s plan for readiness.
If a school does not meet the requirements, then they won’t be forced to open.
Last week, the Miami-Dade School Board approved the staggered opening after state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran called on the district to reopen by Oct. 5.
Originally, the 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.
Broward’s School Board received a similar letter from Corcoran. This week they approved a comprise plan that calls for a staggered reopening beginning October 9.