Miami-Dade Becomes Largest School District to Announce Fully In-Person...

Coronavirus

Miami-Dade Becomes Largest School District to Announce Fully In-Person Learning Option

Sep 24, 2020

Twenty-nine hours and 762 public comments over voicemail after it began, the Miami-Dade County School Board concluded its special meeting on Tuesday with a unanimous vote to reopen school buildings for in-person classes, gradually allowing students back in by different age groups between October 14 and October 21. That’s fully two to three weeks after the date that Miami-Dade’s superintendent had pressed the school board to consider. In rejecting the superintendent’s timetable, board members raised concerns about being able to meet the safety standards demanded by teachers, staff, and families.

With that decision, Miami-Dade will become the largest school district in the United States to offer fully in-person learning, five days a week. (New York City–the largest school district in the country—is gradually implementing hybrid learning in which students learn remotely for part of the week and in-person for the rest.)

When families were surveyed over the summer, about half of Miami-Dade’s 350,000 students indicated a preference for in-person learning. Students will have the option to remain in remote learning—the only option available to Miami-Dade County Public Schools students since the school year began on August 31st.

While Miami-Dade is the largest district to offer fully in-person classes, it’s not alone. According to an EdSurge/Social Context Labs database of 373 districts last updated earlier this month, 135 districts (36 percent) are offering fully in-person classes. Like Miami-Dade County, these districts typically also offer a remote learning option.

Students in the district had been attending school fully remotely, as the district received a waiver from the state of Florida’s requirement that districts offer a fully in-person learning option. (Miami-Dade County previously had one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates of any county in the country.)

The start of the school year in Miami-Dade has been rocky at best. Cyberattacks marred learning. And the district was forced to sever a no-bid contract with K12 for an online learning platform that teachers, students and board members described as a “nightmare” and “not up to par.”

 

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