Miami-Dade school officials hand out laptops ahead of online-only classes

Classes cancelled for at least two weeks due to COVID-19 outbreak

Miami Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and other officials hand out laptops to students for online-only classes as concern over the coronavirus outbreak grows.
Miami Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and other officials hand out laptops to students for online-only classes as concern over the coronavirus outbreak grows. (WPLG)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – One day after public school officials decided to cancel all classes in South Florida three largest counties due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, students are now starting to make the transition to online learning.

With classes officially cancelled for at least the next two weeks, officials in Miami-Dade County are continuing to get students up to speed on their new, distance learning classes.

Part of that effort includes handing out laptops to students who need them, ensuring they can continue their courses, even while sitting at home.

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"This is not the time to panic," said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. "We are ready. We are prepared.

"We have ventured into an arena never traveled into before."

Saturday, district officials continued to hand out more than 250 mobile learning devices to students at Miami Southridge Senior High.

Officials hope the laptops will allow students to continue their education without having to be in the classroom.

"We have already distributed, since yesterday, more than 32,000 devices to students and parents," Carvalho said Saturday.

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While the district has about 200,000 of the devices on hand, administrators are trying to limit them to the students who may not have a computer at home.

Students said Saturday that teachers have already been showing them how to use the laptops, to ensure everything goes smoothly for their first online interaction next week.

For the students who don’t have internet access, the superintendent said Comcast agreed to provide them with free Wi-Fi access for the next 60 days.

As for when schools in Miami-Dade will reopen, the superintendent would not speculate, but said he and his team will continue to monitor the spread of the virus very closely before making any final decision.


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