Broward County schoolteachers can now decide whether or not they would like to teach at a brick and mortar school inside of their classrooms when classes resume next month.

Broward County Public Schools announced the decision during a virtual workshop on Tuesday.

“E-learning is going to be very different than what everyone experienced during the last 12 weeks of the school year,” Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said. “Several things are being put in place to bring about that change. First, there’s extensive teacher training on e-learning tools, strategies and best practices. Those are some fundamental and significant differences that will enhance the quality of e-learning, enhance the quality of the engagement, and we know it’s never going to be a substitute for our students and our teachers getting together in our classroom.”

The school district also spoke about wellness and keeping children mentally healthy during the next round of distance learning. They mentioned specific schools, such as Deerfield Beach High School, where some students died of suicide during the last school year.

Officials wanted to make sure they had services on hand while the school campuses remain closed.

“We are going to have live instruction as part of how that will work going forward,” Runcie said. “We will also offer morning and evening sessions at the elementary level to accommodate working parents.”

Runcie then went on to ask the community to do what is necessary to prevent the virus’ spread, such as wearing masks, washing hands and continuing to practice social distancing, so schools can reopen and students can get back to normal.

“Your efforts will be helping our children to realize the hopes and dreams that they have and allow us to open schools,” Runcie said.

Anna Fusco, the president of the Broward Teachers Union, also participated in the district’s virtual meeting.

“Let’s face it: everybody needs face-to-face instruction,” Fusco said. “Everybody wants to be in brick and mortar. The virus is strong. It is spreading rapidly. More and more people are contracting it. We want you to take full understanding of what you guys are recommending and suggesting, and the pressures that are being put on the educators.”

The district also spoke about allowing pre-K students and students with special needs to return to campuses, but that remains up for discussion.

BCPS will hold another workshop on Aug. 11, where they are expected to further discuss the issue.

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