In-classroom learning in Miami-Dade could start sooner than expected, superintendent says

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Albert Carvalho said that students could be heading back into classrooms earlier than anticipated if the COVID-19 positivity numbers continue to decline in the county.

“If we see a sustained reduction of those indicators for no less than 14 consecutive days, then according to our medical experts, we are ready to initiate the re-opening of schools,” Carvalho said during an event in collaboration with the Miami Heat and Comcast Wednesday. “Obviously, we’re informed by the best medical and public health advice here locally.”

The superintendent previously said that the board would re-evaluate local conditions by late September with a possible return-to-school announcement Oct. 5.

“We may hit appropriate healthy conditions that may allow the return of students to school in a safe methodical and limited way earlier than Oct. 5 or Sept. 30. In fact, based on the latest projections, we may hit those thresholds sometime in mid- to late-September,” Carvalho said.

When students return, however, he said they will do so in "waves." The first to return would be students with special needs that are the most difficult to assist from a distance, according to Carvalho.

“I don’t know of any single teacher or school board member that doesn’t want to see kids back in schools,” Carvalho said.

Carvalho also outlined a thorough plan for contact tracing and communication if, or when, a student gets sick. “When we do open schools, if there are cases — and there will be cases — that we can address them quickly,” said Carvaloho.

In Broward County, superintendent Robert Runcie said that district will revisit in-class learning after Labor Day. There was an enrollment decrease in Broward County Schools by about 7,600 students this school year. When Carvalho was asked about a decrease in enrollment in his school district, he said that the county won’t have an accurate enrollment count until after Labor Day.

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