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Vote expected on staggered reopening of Miami-Dade schools

By AP | Sep 22, 2020

By Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — Florida’s largest school district is proposing to have all willing students back in classrooms by Oct. 7, but a final vote was delayed by more than 18 hours of public comment.

The Miami-Dade County School District proposed to have a staggered reopening of school buildings following the coronavirus pandemic. The board on Monday asked questions of district staff and discussed policies before playing the voicemails, which are required to be heard before holding a vote. A vote is expected around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The 762 public comments were playing overnight, possibly to no board member listening, the Miami Herald reported. The school board said it does not need a quorum during public comment.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade, and students with special needs would return to the classroom on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

On Oct. 5, the remaining elementary school students and students in sixth, ninth and 10th grades will return to classes. By Oct. 7, all students who have opted for in-person learning would be back in classrooms.

Carvalho has said 51% of families wish to send their children back for in-person learning, the newspaper reported. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the fourth largest school district in the United States, comprised of 392 schools, 345,000 students and over 40,000 employees.

Many of the first 100 comments came from district educators and were largely against reopening schools.

School in Palm Beach County opened Monday, with about two-thirds of students and 1 in 12 teachers staying home. In neighboring Broward County, School Superintendent Robert Runcie planned to announce on Tuesday his plan to reopen schools for in-person learning on Oct. 5.