Governor Ron DeSantis' announcement to advance to Phase 2 in Miami-Dade County Public Schools on Sept. 11 has kept the school community busy and alert throughout this month. Yesterday, Tuesday, September 29, the School Board voted in favor of authorizing Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to reopen schools for students on October 5.
The return to the classroom is not mandatory and is staggered. Parents who opted for the face-to-face model for their children will begin to gradually return next Monday October 5th and until Friday, October 9, while those who selected remote or virtual learning will be able to continue with it.
However, after months of closure, the reopening of Miami-Dade County Public Schools has sparked all kinds of feelings in parents and teachers.
It is simply worth remembering what happened in early August, when some Florida school districts reopened schools and shortly after were forced to temporarily close due to the appearance of positive cases of coronavirus and the increase in infections. Something similar happened in the state of Georgia.
For the father of a 5th grader at a Miami-Dade charter school, the reopening “is necessary for those parents who have no other option but to send their children to school. Virtual school must be continued until we reach a normal percentage rate like any other disease”.
It is clear the impact that the closure of schools and the obligation to continue classes virtually have produced on families. It has been a severe blow to the children not being able to see their teachers or classmates in person. For this reason, some authorities and members of the scientific community have pressed for the reopening Miami Dade County Public Schools.
"Children do not have a significant risk of contracting this disease," said Dr. Scott Atlas, a member of the White House coronavirus advisory team months ago.
"We are the only country that seems willing to sacrifice our children for our own fear," he said, naming Germany, Canada or Switzerland as countries that have reopened schools.
Of course, socializing and getting out of the house makes a big difference in the minds of children (and parents!), But many of us wonder how true these statements are and how the significant risk of contracting this disease is measured.
Classroom hygiene is a matter of concern, and both parents and teachers wonder what protocol Miami Dade County Public Schools should follow. Carvalho has assured in his Twitter account that they "will have additional health and safety protocols before the students return." In addition, he announced that Amazon has donated personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
In this regard, many teachers have expressed themselves on social networks.
“My school has told me that I will have approximately 20 students in my classroom, and there is no way to socially distance them. There is no Plexiglass to protect the teacher from the students and the ventilation is dangerous at best, ”tweeted user @djinx13 in response to the superintendent about additional health and safety protocols.
Also, a teacher expressed to this medium her concern about the distance between desks and ventilation in classrooms. “They want to move me to a classroom with 25 students 3 feet away. They say they measure from the center of the desk to the other. Then at lunchtime, we will all remove our masks to eat in that same classroom. There really won't be adequate distance or ventilation to clean the air we breathe. "
A mother of an elementary school student in South Miami felt that the superintendent has tried to do his best in implementing procedures for the reopening, but that more help from the government is needed for the early detection of COVID-19. “We need rapid tests for all students, teachers and staff. If the sports industry has the capacity to carry out daily rapid tests, why can't our students, teachers and staff have the same priority? ", It was asked when asked by this means.
Some teachers cannot wait to go back to school because they say they work much more remotely than in person. “I spend most of Saturday and Sunday planning because of the new guidelines; updating my PowerPoint that I teach, grading student work, providing help and feedback, and responding to messages from students and parents, "commented Elizabeth McLendon on the Facebook group Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) Employees, you are worth more !
And other parents are comfortable with their children following school from home. "The truth is that I am happy with virtual learning and I think that for now it is the best option, "said a mother of two 3rd and 5th grade students.
For more information feel free to visit the Miami Dade County Public Schools website.