Starting Monday, Florida’s largest public school districts — Miami-Dade and Broward — will begin preparing the opening of brick-and-mortar schools, following virtual instruction at the start of the academic year.
The decision came as Gov. Ron DeSantis officially moved Miami-Dade and Broward counties into “phase two” — effective Monday — of what’s been called the “reopening” of Florida in the COVID-19 pandemic. That means boosting the economy and others measures, including getting kids back to school.
“Of course, the most significant aspect of that, is it really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume — of course, at the parents discretion,” DeSantis said at a Friday press conference.
“And we want to continue to offer parent’s the ability to do remote learning if that’s what they want to do,” DeSantis added.
The path to opening brick-and-mortar has been controversial, spawning a lawsuit over whether all schools are safe and who has control over public schools — local school boards or the state.
Miami-Dade and Broward counties have the largest number of COVID-19 infections in the state: 163,375 cases from Miami-Dade and 74,084 from Broward, according to Friday’s report by the Florida Department of Health.
Miami-Dade and Broward districts began the 2020-21 school year in August, offering only virtual instruction due to high numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19 in those counties.
The Miami-Dade school district has had an increasingly rough start to their school year.
Early last week, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools twitter announced that they were facing cyberattacks on their virtual classroom platform called My School Online, run by an company called K12.
Due to the complications from this platform, Miami-Dade had to cut ties with K12, and educators had to adapt their lesson plans with little warning, the Miami Herald reported.
With more than 610,000 students in Miami-Dade and Broward, some families will want the option to return to in-person instruction.
Others may not.
Shortly after the press conference started, a protester interrupted DeSantis, raising concerns about the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A protester yelled at the governor, saying, “200,000 people died — 12,000 in Florida alone.”
He was quickly removed and the conference continued.