Superintendents in Miami-Dade, Broward respond to state mandate orders schools to reopen this fall

MIAMI – Officials in Florida have mandated that all public schools reopen in August, and local superintendents said they plan to do so, but with a catch. 

As President Donald Trump threatened to withhold federal funding if America’s schools don’t reopen in the fall despite the coronavirus, an executive order from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis now mandates that all schools in the state must open at least five days a week, and that local plans for reopening must be approved in Tallahassee. 

The state order also allows school districts to move their first day of school depending on current pandemic conditions and allows them to decide how to reopen based on advice from local public health experts. 

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said a school survey of parents in the county so far shows 26% of them prefer online learning, 37% the hybrid model and 34% the in-school model.

"We will never compromise the health and safety of our students, teachers and staff," said Runcie. "One thing is clear. This time we do not see a realistic to opening all district schools with 100% full enrollment every day as we were before we closed schools due to the corona virus pandemic."

So far in Miami-Dade, 60% or more of parents prefer the in-school model and 30% or more parents prefer the online model. Plans to reopen schools in Miami-Dade are linked to Phase Two conditions, but we're still in Phase On, with COVID-19 cases growing. 

"We believe we will be able to continue to give parents that options that we have discussed," said Miami-Dade Public Schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the country is full steam ahead. 

“It’s not a matter of if we open schools, it’s a matter of how,” she said. 

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