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Florida’s Commissioner of Education sent a letter to Miami-Dade Public Schools Friday, telling the district to reopen by October 5th or provide reasons as to why each individual school could not reopen.
In the letter, education commissioner Richard Corcoran told Superintendent Alberto Carvalho that the school district’s current plan to reopen was not happening soon enough, and completely contradicted the plan it submitted to the state.
Earlier this week, Miami-Dade’s school board voted unanimously for a staggered reopening plan that would reopen schools no sooner than Oct. 14. All grades would be back and the district fully operational by Oct. 21.
Health experts on the district’s task force approved the district’s plans for HVAC upgrades, sanitizing protocols, social distancing measures, mandatory facial coverings, and other measures at every school.
“Our plan relies on science, our plan relies on the advice of public health and medical experts,” Carvalho said on the day of the decision.
However, Corcoran says the staggered reopening poses “extreme difficulty” for families who rely on schools for “specialized services.”
“It is also harmful for students who are experiencing violence, abuse and food insecurity in their homes going unnoticed, many of whom were already struggling to close the achievement gap and will now fall even further behind,” Corcoran wrote.
If Miami-Dade schools do not reopen by October 5th, the commissioner said he would require that the district provide the following reasons why each individual school could not reopen by next Friday, October 2nd:
- The student capacity for each school
- The number of students who’ve requested in-person learning
- The number of students who can receive in-person learning, given the health conditions
- The number of students unable to receive in-person learning
- How the priority for in-person instruction will be given for “vulnerable students”, given that no student can be provided in-person learning
- Specific reasoning for why no student can return for in-person learning
In a statement, Miami-Dade Public Schools Chief Communication Officer, Daisy Gonzalez-Diego said:
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is carefully reviewing the letter received from the Commissioner of Education on Friday. The District was prepared to launch Stage II of our reopening plan, under the adjusted timeline proffered and unanimously approved by the School Board last week. However, M-DCPS will not be announcing return dates until all implications and concerns outlined in the recently received communication have been assessed and direction from the Board has been received.”
Gonzalez-Diego added that a special school board meeting to discuss Corcoran’s letter would take place this Tuesday.