Broward County Public School Board discusses plans to reopen for 2020-21 school year

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward County Public School Board is currently reviewing different options on reopening for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

The board began discussing different options on how to reopen for the next school year during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

“We’ve focused on a staggered day model,” Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

The first portion of the meeting’s agenda was focused on the budget and how they are allocating money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a PowerPoint presentation used by board members during the meeting, 36% of parents in the district support the schools fully reopening in the fall, while another 33% of parents surveyed support a hybrid plan for students.

However, 24% of parents said they want students to continue learning solely online.

There are several hybrid learning plans that were discussed, including two in which there are staggered days of the week when students return to their school’s campus.

“To me, I would rather see three days one week, two days the next week,” said school board member Laurie Levinson. “Three days one week, two days the next week, with an A group and a B group where kids would be going to school every other day.”

Overall, officials are still trying to work out the details for the return.

“We’ve gotta be able to guarantee our students that they’re gonna get at least 50% of their learning time on campus in a classroom,” Runcie said.

The president of the Broward Teacher’s Union, Anna Fusco, spoke to 7News before the meeting to bring forward her concerns.

“What is a day going to look like with our students? Is it going to be mandated to wear masks? How can we enforce it?” Fusco said. “We don’t want to take discipline on the kid. I mean, we’ve got 4-year-olds and we might have some 17-year-olds that just can’t do it. Are we going to have some that don’t want to? Yes, but I think it’s hard to be in a school setting, any type of setting, for six, seven hours wearing a mask all day long.”

Fusco also brought up social distancing concerns.

Other changes that may come with the year include temperature checks and face masks. There may also be changes when it comes to transportation. The details on how these issues will be tackled are still being worked out.

“As they say sometimes, ‘Don’t waste a crisis.’ We will do everything we can to make sure that we can create a better future for our students and this district,” Runcie said. “How do we fit students on the bus and maintain physical distancing?”

Parents and guardians can expect to hear from the county in July or August as to what to expect. Parents in Miami-Dade can also expect to hear from the county about changes in the near future.

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