In another intense meeting, Tuesday, September 29, 2020, the school board voted unanimously to authorize School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to transition to Stage II of its, “Reopen Smart, Return Safe”, plan. This provides for students whose parents previously selected a Schoolhouse model to begin classes Monday, October 5, 2020 in a staggered approach throughout that week by grade level.
Pre-K, Kindergarten, first grade and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) will be first to return. Grades 2 through high school will return in groups beginning Wednesday, October 7th, with some K-8 centers, middle schools, high schools, and combination schools completing the return on Friday. Students in the latter part of the week will continue with regular on-line classes until they are phased in. Of special note, all high school schedules will standardize to a 7:20 a.m. start beginning October 7th, in both the Schoolhouse model and My School Online.
As part of the months-long, massive information gathering effort to develop the re-open plan, parents were surveyed in July as to their preference. “The survey results indicated that the preference of parents was nearly evenly split among three different models. Roughly one-third of parents surveyed, due to personal or professional reasons, wanted students to return five days per week in the traditional brick-and-mortar model of schooling with preventive measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of students and staff. One-third of parents declared a clear interest in continuing a full-time distance learning process like the model established in March. An equal percentage of parents preferred a hybrid model that reflected some degree of presence in school as well as some distance learning.”
Only those students whose parents selected the Schoolhouse model will be returning. Notification cards have been sent and parents can review their selection through their child’s Student Portal or the Dade schools mobile app. In light of changes that may have occurred within a family since July, the following provision has been included in the plan. “School administrators will have the discretion to make limited exceptions for parents who wish to change their initial selection. To request a change, parents must contact their child’s school to complete a change of declaration form. Any exceptions will be made based upon the specific conditions of each school’s in-person enrollment to ensure social distancing measures are not compromised.”
Fewer students in the schoolhouses allow for social distancing. All schools have been engaged in specialized cleaning and sanitation as well as maintenance and physical modification of school sites. Stores of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) have been provided and will be readily available. Students will be instructed in the protocols and processes for movement within the facilities and other necessary changes. There is a heavy emphasis on personal responsibility of the students to practice health and safety measures and for parents to carefully observe their child/children’s health.
A contact tracing and investigation program and data dashboard has been established to ensure the dissemination of real-time COVID-19 related information, and much more.
As Superintendent Carvalho said in a lead-up to the most recent school board meeting, “Our plan relies on science. Our plan relies on the advice of public health and medical experts,” said Carvalho. “Our plan relies on the dynamic monitoring of local health conditions.”
Full details of the M-DCPS Reopen Smart, Return Safe plan are provided at reopening.dadeschools.net in the guide which is in English, Spanish or Haitian-Creole.
For the most up-to-date information, individuals can download the Dade Schools mobile app to iPhones or Android devices. Other social media platforms are on Twitter @mdcpsand @miamisup, on Instagram @miamischools and @miamisup, and on Facebook at MiamiSchools and AlbertoCarvalho