MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he is carefully considering every available option for the upcoming school year.
Carvalho addressed the matter during a community event on Sunday where he handed out meals.
“Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our students and our employees,” he said.
Now that the scheduled start of classes in Miami-Dade is about a month away, school district officials are aware that the clock is ticking.
“Where we are right now, quite frankly, is a race against the clock,” said Carvalho.
The superintendent said the district is considering three different options: in-person schooling, online learning or a hybrid model.
He said parents seem to be split about what to do.
“Fifty-one percent of the parents surveyed have indicated the desire to continue through remote learning, while 49% have indicated that, if health conditions in the community improve, they would like to return back to school,” he said.
For the latter option to happen, Carvalho said, there needs to be a drastic drop in Miami-Dade’s positivity rate.
“Right now, it’s close to 20%. It needs to be a 10 or lower,” he said.
“We have to just continue to protect ourselves through this health emergency,” said Miami-Dade School Board member Lubby Navarro.
The superintendent said he’s also considering pushing back the first day of school. He said he will make an announcement on July 29.
In Broward County, school district officials have already made the decision to start the school year online.
“Our teachers will deliver the best e-learning experience possible,” said Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
Carvalho’s comments come as Florida health officials report another jump in COVID-19 cases. Saturday morning, they confirmed 12,199 new infections in the state. Of those cases, 3,424 are in Miami-Dade.
The state’s total number has risen to 414,511 coronavirus cases, surpassing New York state’s total.
According to some state and local leaders, there is some good news. They said the number of daily cases statewide is starting to level out, and in Miami-Dade, hospitalizations are at their lowest since July 17.
However, health officials said, there is still a long way to go.
“We’re drowning, we’re absolutely drowning,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University.
On Saturday, Miami-Dade reported its highest number of COVID-19 patients intensive care unit beds.
“If we can’t bring this virus down, we’re going to have to take more extreme measures,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
Due to the increase in cases throughout South Florida, five new federally funded COVID-19 testing sites have opened this weekend.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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