FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Students in Miami-Dade and Broward County will be heading back to school for 100% in-person learning this fall.
Students have been learning from home for the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but for next school year, officials from both school districts announced it’s time to get back to normal.
“Broward County Schools will open the 2021-22 school year with 100% in-person face-to-face instruction,” said Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
“It is our plan as a school system to welcome back 100% of all our students across all grade levels, that means pre-K through 12, for the 2021-22 school year,” said Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Both Broward and Miami-Dade school districts made the announcement on Tuesday.
“As long as everyone’s vaccinated, I’m all for it,” said grandparent Joseph Dibiaase.
“This has impacted kids a lot. You know what I mean? So, I really believe that socialization and being amongst their peers is really important for their development,” said parent Sherry Peters.
Next fall, the districts will return to 100% in-person learning.
“There is no substitute for the live presence of a dedicated, caring professional teacher,” Carvalho said.
“There will be no blended hybrid remote learning,” Runcie said. “For students and families who desire a virtual option, our Broward Virtual School has been available for that purpose for the past 20 years.”
Runcie said since coronavirus vaccines are now widely available to any adult who wants it, along with some encouraging signs that it will be approved for children as young as 12, he thinks it will be safe to return to a more traditional classroom setting by the fall.
During the announcement, Runcie also pointed out the problems posed by remote learning over the past year that are all too familiar to many South Florida families.
“Personally, I’d like it because I have a middle schooler, and it’s impacted his socialization,” said a parent.
Hours after the announcement, Anna Fusco, the president of the Broward Teachers Union, said they’re on board and looking to going back to the classroom safely.
“Though they know that people need to get back to a little more normalcy but we still want to make sure that we’re gonna keep, you know, the precautions, and Mr. Runcie said he’s committed,” Fusco said. “Instead of combating and working against each other, let’s create these two great teams and let them work it out.”
As for Miami-Dade Schools, officials said the switch will start in a couple of months, with thousands of students returning to the classroom this summer.
“It is our goal to begin to transition towards that full modality with our summer learning program, which will be dramatically expanded compared to years past,” Carvalho said. “This is what we must do to accelerate all of our students towards their full potential.”
For families who don’t want to return to in-person learning, both districts offer online alternatives. Officials in Broward County Schools said they’re working to expand Broward Virtual School.
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