Broward County school board continues reopening discussions amid warnings, surge in cases

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Members of the Broward County Public School board held a meeting discussing what families can expect when schools reopen in the fall amid warnings from health experts and a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The board met on Tuesday discussing possible ways school campuses can reopen, such as schools offering virtual meetings for school clubs instead of in person.

Both Miami-Dade and Broward County school districts have said returning to the classroom is not an option at the moment due to the increase in coronavirus cases in the counties.

“These are conversations that are not happening in collaboration with the Broward Teachers Union,” union president Anna Fusco said.

However, some teachers, like Nyree Washington, are nervous because no clear plan has been presented.

“We need masks for everyone every day,” she said. “We need a plan to have 6 feet of space in our classrooms. We need a plan to move 3,400 students from classroom to classroom. I’m afraid for my health, the health of my family and all of my students.”

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, said until the percent positivity rate drops below 5%, schoolchildren will more than likely become spreaders of the virus.

“Face-to-face classrooms are not a good idea,” Marty said. “Those children then go home — and possibly to multi-generational households — where you can have individuals that are likely to have more serious disease.”

Despite the warning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis believes the scenario is unlikely to take place.

“I don’t think that the schoolchildren are the primary vectors of spread,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., is pushing for state and federal leaders to commit to virtual learning until new COVID-19 cases dramatically decrease.

“We need to protect these young people, and we need to protect the people that teach them,” she said. “It is almost impossible to protect the health of the American people and open the schools at the same time.”

BCPS is expected to hold a workshop on Wednesday. Officials are expected to talk about the plans and what the fall for Broward County students could look like.

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