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Broward Board Wants All Students on Campus at Least Twice Weekly

Students in Broward would return to campus two to three days a week this fall, with improved at-home education offered on the remaining days, according to a proposal that School Board members outlined this week.

The plan, is under development, attempts to balance the preferences of parents and students.

All of the board members said they wanted students on campus as much, and as safely as possible, when the school year starts Aug. 19.

However, parents and students are divided on the matter. A recent survey found that a third of parents and students prefer a full-time return to school, while another third want a hybrid online and in-person experience. A quarter of them want education to stay online, and the rest were unsure.

Many parents and students have criticized the online instruction that was offered during the spring, as lockdowns went into effect due to the pandemic.

They said teachers put course materials and assignments online and often did not cover the material or have contact with students.

“Your lack of assigning appropriate teachers to provide online instruction is negligence,” Parkland parent Tammy Morris told the School Board. “I am now spending the summer teaching my children the appropriate math and English lessons they did not receive. I am not a teacher; I am a mother.”

Morris hopes the district re-open schools “and scrap distance learning. You failed my children.”

Several board members agreed with the need for better online offerings.

“I don’t think it can be a free-for-all where in many cases, kids were on their own,” Board member Laurie Rich Levinson said. “It’s important our kids be educated every single day.”

School district officials offered several options for reducing the number of students and promoting social distancing.

However, board members now believe the best option is for all students to attend at least two days a week.

One option would have some students attend Mondays and Tuesdays, and others on Thursday and Friday, with cleaning and disinfecting occurring on Wednesday.

Other School Board members believe schools should be open to students every day, with cleaning and disinfecting taking place on nights and weekends.

On the other hand, board member Donna Korn suggests a compromise in which schools could be open a half-day to students Wednesday, with the other half to be used for cleaning and teacher planning and professional development.

School district officials plan to further discuss the options throughout the summer. The plans could also depend on how severe the coronavirus is in Broward County at the beginning of the school year.

UPDATED: School Systems Consider Twice-a-Week School, Other Options for Fall