Broward schools will have isolation rooms, mask mandates and other safety measures as students return

Broward County Public Schools welcome back some students to the physical classrooms Friday, and administrators gave a tour of how the schools will be set up to keep students and staff safe.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – As Broward County’s public schools prepare to reopen their doors to some students Friday, district officials are giving a rundown of the changes you can expect to see.

During a stop at Hollywood Park Elementary, administrators showed off the spaced-out desks and new plexiglass barriers intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Everyone has been really working overtime since the summer,” Superintendent Robert Runcie said. “Our classrooms are going to be equipped with sanitizer, gels, wipes — all of the precautions that you know are recommended by the CDC.”

Every student and staff member at Broward’s schools will have to wear a protective face covering. Students who don’t comply will be pulled aside and potentially sent back home to take part in virtual learning, Runcie said.

The district has also hired more nurses, with Runcie saying that “for the first time in this district, we have a nurse in every single school. Many schools will have two or more nurses.”

Another change students will notice is that each classroom now has a maximum capacity limit, as well as a sign-in and sign-out sheet, which everyone who enters must fill out.

Administrators also gave a look inside their isolation room — where any student will symptoms will be taken.

“We have extra PPE equipment and materials, if we should need it,” said Antonio Lindsay, the interim principal at Hollywood Park Elementary. “We have a restroom that’s going to be used only for students that are in the isolation room.”

The preview comes one day after some students in Miami-Dade County returned to class in person.

Officials there reported no major issues.

Like Miami-Dade, Broward is also taking a phased-in approach, with pre-kindergarten through 2nd graders allowed to come back starting Friday.

Students in grades 3-6 plus 9th graders will start to return Oct. 13, with students in grades 7-8 and 10-12 beginning to come back Oct. 15.

The school year began in August with students taking online classes.

For more details on the reopening plans in Broward County, click here.

About the Author:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.