Miami-Dade, Broward public schools reopen after Irma

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Students, faculty and staff across South Florida are heading back to class in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, Monday, for the first time since Hurricane Irma battered parts of the Sunshine State.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho made the announcement via Twitter on Sunday.

Later in the day, Carvalho spoke with reporters about the district’s decision. “We believe schools are the safest and most secure places for kids,” said Carvalho, “where they will be taught, comforted, as well as fed,” he said.

Officials confirmed that all but one public school would be reopening their doors on Monday.

Richmond Heights Middle School is the only Miami-Dade public school that will not reopen because of needed cleanup. However, students who are to report there, will be escorted to Coral Reef Senior High School by school officials.

On Saturday, Broward Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said in a news conference that classes would also resume on Monday.

A total of 29 public schools served as shelters in Broward County during the hurricane. Now, after a week off due to loss of power, Runcie believes it’s time to hit the books.

“Our priority now and always has been to ensure our students and staff have safe and productive learning environments,” said Runcie, “and we understand the importance of getting our schools open as quickly as possible.”

Runcie added that all of the county’s public schools are ready and will be offering parents a bit of help. “We are providing free breakfast and free lunch for every student at every school for the next several weeks,” he said.

Miami-Dade schools will be doing the same. School officials from both counties told 7News that extra crossing guards and police officers will help students get to and from school in the hard-hit areas where some traffic signals are still not working.

Carvalho also mentioned via Twitter that bus delays are to be expected, due to inoperable traffic lights and debris. “We expect delays. We expect some degree of inconvenience. We expect some degree of discomfort,” said Carvalho, “but we believe that normalcy with our public school system coming back into session.”

Sunday night, Carvalho posted on Facebook that power and air conditioning had been restored at all schools reopening Monday.

For Miami-Dade, absences and tardiness will be excused, Monday. For Broward, no written documentation will be required for excused absences related to Hurricane Irma. However, parents are still required to contact the school.

School officials are also urging parents to walk their children to and from their bus stops or to school due to storm debris.

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