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More parents looking to send students back to Broward schools, Runcie says

Broward County Public Schools welcomed students in grades 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 on Thursday. The phased approach began with younger students last Friday and continued with more on Tuesday.

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – As the last wave of students joined the phased return to classrooms Thursday, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said that about 30,000 students have opted for in-person learning.

“We will end up somewhere around 20% or more in the district,” Runcie said. “We do actually have parents who are continuing to call to come in.”

Thursday marked the return of Broward students in grades 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12. The phased approach began with younger students last Friday and continued with more on Tuesday.

Speaking outside Charles W. Flanagan High School, Runcie said he wants parents to know that, for this plan to be successful, it starts at home with checking students' temperatures and for other signs of sickness.

He says the health and safety staff reported an incident to him Wednesday night where a student in the county tested positive for COVID-19. The student and her brother are being asked to quarantine, but their mother had other plans.

“The mother advised the principal that she has to work and she will be sending them to the bus stop to come to school tomorrow,” Runcie said. “We aren’t going to allow that. We will intervene.

“Ultimately it’s going to be up to parents to make sure that we are notified, that they are helping us to make sure that we can keep our classrooms as safe as possible,” Runcie added.

Superintendent Robert Runcie says about 20% of Broward County Public Schools students have opted to return to physical classrooms.

Runcie said Broward schools are actively answering calls from parents who now want to send their students back to school, as there is still room.

Broward County has eight confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools. An email obtained by Local 10 News shows an additional case at Liberty Elementary in Margate, and the teachers union believes there are more.

Down in Miami-Dade County, the district’s dashboard showed a jump to 28 cases overnight, with half employees.

Meanwhile, high school sports teams have been given the green light to begin practicing in Broward, but there are strict rules.

Practices are limited to two hours per day, temperature checks are required before, and facial coverings must be worn unless students are working out or practicing.

Practices at Western High School and Cypress Bay High were suspended after positive cases relating to football and cheerleading team members.

About the Authors:

Parker Branton joined Local 10 News in January 2019 as a reporter. He was born and raised in Rome, Georgia, but now loves living on the sunny beaches of South Florida.

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.