This fall’s school opening will be unlike any before in Broward County and much of Florida. This year, Broward Public Schools will begin in an entirely virtual environment, and all ages will attend classes through online technology.
In recent weeks, the Broward School Board and Superintendent Robert Runcie have been working to lay out what the coming school year will be like.
Runcie and Board members have said they don’t want students on campus until the positivity rate for coronavirus is between three and five percent and in recent weeks, the rates have been much higher. The Board will review the positivity rate every two weeks before making a decision on when students can return to classrooms with their teachers. Runcie has said during conferences that he wants student to return to the classrooms but that currently it would be unsafe for them to do so.
Under the current model, students will receive about five hours of instruction during each school day from their teachers.
“We have been distributing computers to students so they will be ready to participate in online learning,” said Rachel Silber, spokesperson for Hollywood Hills High School. “We are going to have a good year and we’ll have activities for the students this year.”
During School Board workshops, demonstrations on how the technology will work were given as well as presentations on how classes will actually be conducted online. Teachers will take daily attendance and students will be able to raise their hands in class to be called on.
The elementary school day will begin at 8 a.m. and the middle and high school day will begin at 8:30 a.m. Elementary school students will participate in full class activities and small groups sessions for more intensive training in reading, math, science and other subjects. Middle and high school students will participate in traditional class periods online. They will receive live lectures and recorded videos.
Parents have received some instruction on how virtual education will work through Parent University. The parents are learning about the new technology so they can help their children.
While there will be virtual club activities in areas such as music, art and some organizations, athletic activities have been postponed, at least during the early fall. Coaches and athletes are hoping fall sports such as football and volleyball can be played later in the year.