Amid Trump’s threat to withhold funding, South Florida’s school districts ponder how to reopen

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - As President Donald Trump threatens to withhold federal funding from schools that do not reopen in the fall, educators in South Florida are continuing discussions how they will reopen their campuses when classes resume.

However, earlier this week, Florida’s Education Commissioner mandated schools open but left final decisions up to local communities.

“Everybody wants it,” Trump said Tuesday. “The moms want it. The dads want it. The kids want it. It’s time to do it.”

“As the president made clear yesterday, it’s time, it’s time for us to get our kids back to school,” Vice President Mike Pence said.

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

While federal funding makes up about 10% of most school districts’ budget, the superintendents of Miami-Dade and Broward counties’ school districts said the health of everyone will come first.

“My primary focus is on the well being, the safety, the security, the health of the child and the employee,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.

“We do not see a realistic path to opening all district schools with 100% full enrollment,” Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

A fourth grade teacher in Miami, who said she has an underlying health condition, stated that she is fearful to return to campus.

“If I take that short term disability, that’s only for 11 weeks, so what happens after 11 weeks? Is the virus gonna leave after 11 weeks?” she asked.

Anna Fusco, the president of the Broward Teachers Union, said they have heard from about a third of teachers, and most of them prefer distance learning.

“About 3,500 said, ‘I want to stick with online;’ 1,500 have said ‘Willing to go back into brick and mortar,'” Fusco said.

Parents in Miami-Dade and Broward counties still have time to vote on how their school campuses will look like when they reopen in the fall.

Click here to be taken to Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ website to fill out the questionnaire.

Click here to be taken to Broward County Public Schools’ website to fill out the questionnaire.

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