MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Wednesday, students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 2nd through 6th grades, 9th, and 10th returned to the classrooms.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said this was the largest group in the district’s staggered re-opening and now every school in the district has some students in the classroom.
Compared to the roughly 22,000 students who returned Monday, this group had more than 70,000 students. About 50% of the students in the district are still distance learning at home.
Carvalho toured about a dozen schools on Wednesday, including Coral Reef Senior High School in southwest Miami-Dade.
“I can say from what I observed, [class has gone] smoothly,” said Carvalho. “Always a couple of glitches.”
Carvalho said other than some kids having issues with portal access at a couple of schools there weren’t issues with the systems. He did say scheduling has been a challenge.
“A lot of schedule changes [and] parents asking to change modality. In just a matter of days, [one] principal confirmed 400 changes,” said Carvalho.
While at Coral Reef High, Carvalho commented on the lunch process. Schools have shifted lunch schedules throughout the day to allow for social distancing in cafeterias.
“I just witnessed one of the most organized lunch processes here,” said Carvalho. “Students entering the cafeteria with social distancing, grab-and-go model.”
With 7th, 8th, 11th, and 12th graders returning Friday, Carvalho said he expects a repeat, with less stress.
Carvalho said meal distributions continue to be ‘critically important.’ Parents with kids at home can pick up meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-5:30.
“No questions asked. Please do that,” said Carvalho.
Carvalho asked parents to please reach out if there are any issues and to please be patient if their kids go to school with usually long lines.
“Dropping off and picking up is a challenge on a good day,” said Carvalho. “With staggered arrival and dismissal, it’s more complicated.”
Overall, the superintendent said he is reasonably happy and satisfied with how returning to classrooms is going so far.
“Nothing on any given day even outside of a pandemic,” said Carvalho.
Students in Broward will begin their staggered return beginning this Friday, October 9th.
During a tour of a school in Hollywood on Wednesday, Superintendent Robert Runcie acknowledged that school buildings will never be 100 percent COVID free.
For now, among the safety measures in place are socially distanced seating in classrooms and cafeterias, staggered times to change classes, new signs and decals, and plenty of cleaning supplies.
The district also has a dashboard where students and parents can track COVID cases at schools.