Broward, Miami-Dade school districts unveil programs for changes brought on by coronavirus

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - School district officials in Broward and Miami-Dade counties said they are prepared for any changes that have to be made due to coronavirus safety concerns.

Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie spoke at a media conference Wednesday morning.

“We actually, as a district, have been working for several years investing in a fairly robust learning management system, which we call ‘Canvas,'” said Runcie. “That system allows our educators [and] our curriculum staff to collaborate and develop lesson plans and content.”

Runcie said BCPS will use Canvas for school lessons starting March 30.

“What we’re doing to make sure that every student in Broward County has access to these educational opportunities, we will be distributing computing devices this Friday,” said Runcie. “We are distributing those devices from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at each school. The parents, guardians will need to go to the school to actually pick up those devices.”

In Miami-Dade County, 52,000 devices have already been handed out, and in both counties, school, or virtual school, will resume after spring break, on March 30.

“We are ready at Miami-Dade to continue after spring break the instructional continuity plan implementation, which relies on digital content, as well as the devices that are in the hands of children already,” M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.

Once spring break is officially over, Runcie said the district will expand their meal plan to continue to serve breakfast and lunch to students who would normally be in school.

“Teachers will, in effect, in most cases, have a period of time where they will provide some instruction,” Runcie said. “They will have effectively what we’ll consider office hours, where students can actually connect with them, go over some assignments, ask questions.”

Runcie said senior activities like prom and graduation remain up in the air.

Senior Deandre Daniels attends Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale and said he is concerned over what is going to happen for the rest of the school year.

“That’s the only thing I worry about. I mean, am I still going to be able to graduate May 30 like we’re supposed to?” said Daniels.

Daniels has joined the U.S. Air Force and was supposed to leave after graduation, but he wonders whether there will even be a ceremony.

“I want the experience of walking across the stage and not just have my diploma sent in the mail,” he said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that all state schools will remain closed until at least April 15.

Seniors like Daniels are said to only have to worry about grade point averages and course requirements for their diplomas. The FSA, the SAT and the ACT exams have been cancelled.

“Requirements for graduation, promotion and final course grades will be evaluated as though the assessments did not exist,” said DeSantis.

Another Broward student said she already misses going to school.

“I want to come back,” she said.

She is among the thousands of other South Florida students who are now learning from home.

Runcie added that employees should not be affected financially from the suspension of schools.

“At this moment in time, those that are employees understand that we’re going to make sure that they don’t see any disruption in pay,” Runcie said. “Temporary employees and day-to-day subs who worked at least 20 hours per week will get a pro-rated paycheck for the spring break period, which normally occurs.”

For Broward families that rely on meals from the school district, breakfast and lunch will be served at 11 schools throughout the county on Thursday. The meal program will then pick up again after spring break.

In Miami-Dade, students’ home schools will be providing breakfast and lunch as well.

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