Miami-Dade Schools Set to Welcome Students Back to Classrooms

Florida’s largest school district appeared poised to reopen this month after Governor Ron DeSantis moved Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward County into the next phase of easing restrictions, overcoming a hurdle for returning students to schoolhouses.

“It really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume, of course at the parents’ discretion,” DeSantis said in an appearance Friday with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

The Miami-Dade County district has 345,000 students, making it America’s fourth largest. The district started the school year online on Aug. 31. But virtual learning has been plagued by network connectivity problems, confusion over the district’s chosen online platform and cyber attacks.

A special school board meeting will be held next week, Carvalho said, and medical experts will be convened to make final recommendations on precautions. He said an announcement on the restart date would come soon.

“We look forward to a schoolhouse reopening later on this month,” Carvalho said.

On Thursday, the school board voted to abandon its partnership with online learning company K12 Inc., following complaints from parents and teachers. Instead of the much-touted custom platform, the district told teachers to revert to using Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Many schools in other Florida communities are already open. But the Miami metropolitan area is Florida’s most populous and has been the hardest hit by the pandemic. In recent weeks, though, Covid-19 cases have declined and hospitalizations in Miami-Dade for the virus stand at about a quarter of their July peak.

The move into Phase 2 also clears the way for reopening certain entertainment venues in the area.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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