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South Florida School Districts Push Back Reopen Date To May Or Later

Emily Michot
Miami Herald
Sheryl Munoz is a pre-K teacher at Gulfstream Early Learning Center in Broward County. On the district's first day of distance learning, she taught her class from the front porch of her Hollywood home. Schools will be closed through at least May 1.

South Florida's largest public school districts have announced they are extending campus closures by another two weeks or more.

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Based on a new recommendation from the state, the Miami-Dade and Broward county districts are keeping schools closed through at least May 1. A previous directive from the state Department of Education indicated districts should shutter school facilities through April 15.

The Palm Beach County district announced Tuesday schools would be closed to students “until further notice.”

During an emergency school board meeting on Tuesday, Broward County schools superintendent Robert Runcie repeated his earlier assertion that campuses likely won’t reopen before the end of the school year.

“Our plan is to prepare for continuing the current education model and distance learning that we have throughout the remainder of this school year,” Runcie said. “We would love to see circumstances improve, but I think we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst scenario.”

Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the district would continue to evaluate the situation.

In a tweet on Monday night, before the official recommendation came down from the Florida Department of Education, Carvalho wrote: “We've been saying that the reopening of schools on April 15 is highly unlikely. Today, our position was confirmed by Tallahassee. We're reevaluating current conditions ... a more realistic scenario would be that schools won't reopen until sometime in May.”

Reached by phone, Monroe County schools superintendent Mark Porter said the school board would likely decide whether to extend his district’s closure during a meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

In a video message to parents this week, Porter said he expects the new online education format to continue in the Florida Keys through the end of the school year.

Depending on the district, the last day of school is scheduled for late May or early June.

Districts are still providing meals for students and families during closures. Find more information here.

Jessica Bakeman is senior editor for news at WLRN, South Florida's NPR member station. Previously, Bakeman served as WLRN's education reporter for four years. Bakeman was awarded the 2020 Journalist of the Year award from the Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.