MIAMI (WSVN) - The superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools has released some of the plans and contingencies the district is working on should the 2020-2021 school year continue to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

During a video conference call via Zoom on Wednesday, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he hopes to begin the next school year as a regular school year.

The superintendent said he expects initial findings and recommendations to come from the district in June, but he said they may be subject to change over the summer between April and the start of the 2020 school year.

Carvalho also addressed three critical areas the district will be working on over the next few months.

The district is first considering reducing density and operational efficiency at schools district-wide. This means the district would use the schools’ square footage to maximize social distancing for activities such as gym and eating in cafeterias.

Carvalho added that the district is considering placing fewer children on bus routes with varying pickup and drop off times.

Officials said they will have staggered start and end class times, different transition times and models, and they are developing plans for single flow student traffic to avoid large scale numbers of students in the hallways at the same time. The district is also considering more outdoor classrooms usage as well.

The superintendent said the district is prepared to provide personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, to staff members should the need arise, and they are determining about PPE for students, should a need arise, as well.

Officials also discussed a potential for daily temperature checks before getting on a school bus or into the building, just in case, and they will be doubling down on their efforts that all of their children meet vaccination requirements.

The district also mentioned enhanced student registration protocols to ensure students meet health requirements and changing the protocol for reporting illnesses for students, parents and staff, which includes maintaining a hotline.

Carvalho said schools will be looking at attendance guidelines, so if a threat still exists, attendance will not be a factor to keep people safe. Students and staff will also be required to wash their hands based on scheduled cycles in all buildings.

The district will also enhance mental and emotional support for students and faculty going into the summer and into 2021.

The superintendent said he will also move aggressively to fill the Chief Health Officer position within the school district. The duties of the Chief Health Officer will be related to the contingency plans and the overall district health protocols. Carvalho said the position has become necessary, as the district cannot rely only on health entities outside the school system.

During the presentation, Carvalho outlined graduation procedures and grading for students within the district.

The superintendent said graduations will be virtual celebrations, but he also said a traditional, physical graduation ceremony will be held later in the summer or in the winter.

The revised ceremony schedule will be announced next week, and a four-week social media campaign to honor M-DCPS seniors will culminate on May 20.

The first week of the campaign will be this week and will highlight college and athletic scholarship recipients. The second week will highlight military and first-generation graduates, and top 10% and Silver Knight nominees will be highlighted in the third week.

All seniors will be recognized during the last week of the campaign.

On May 20, during what the district is calling Senior Recognition Day, all Class of 2020 photos will be posted, along with videos of their favorite memories and will include congratulations from local celebrities and athletes.

According to Carvalho, the promotion of students will be guided by teacher and principal recommendations, along with parents. The superintendent said grading will need to continue, so students can improve their GPAs. Therefore, a pass/fail system will not work.

In the final part of the presentation, Carvalho discussed a new program, called S.O.A.R., designed to fight the summer slide of academic regression that happens to students every year. The superintendent said this summer is expected to be historic due to all the changes from this school year.

The program will offer expanded extended learning opportunities through the summer and into the next school year, Carvalho said.

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