Phase 1 Frequently Asked Questions
BCPS is doing everything possible to ensure students and parents have the answers they need as they return to school.
Below are a few key questions and answers related to the 2020-21 School Year. Please check back regularly for updates to the FAQ below since as new information will be added over time.
When will we be back in school?
Broward County Public Schools believes that kids belong in school, learning alongside their friends from familiar teachers in an environment they know and feel comfortable being in. The District knows parents rely on schools to keep their kids safe and fed during the day and provide them with the discipline and instruction they need to succeed.
Even so, the health and well-being of our students, teachers and staff is our #1 priority. Until there is scientific evidence the virus in Broward County is well under control, District schools will remain closed for lessons and all education will be conducted online.
The District is prepared to implement various options, with resource and tactical plans in place that can quickly put in place when it is safe to do so. Our Board is relying on science- based data and guidance from medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control, and state and local leaders to determine when schools can open again to on-campus teaching.
BCPS wants to get back to normal like everyone else. We are parents and caregivers and know the burden families are experiencing due to COVID-19. Even so, we remain firm in our resolve to put safety first and open only when specific data, trends, and science-based criteria are met showing that it’s safe to return to face-to-face instruction.
Until then, BCPS will remain closed, with instruction online 100%.
When can we expect our kids to go back to school the traditional way?
Only when CDC and medical guidance is clear that the virus is under control in Broward County.
Will BCPS schools open as planned?
Broward County Public Schools successfully welcomed back students and staff on Wednesday, August 19. The 2020|21 school year will began with 100% eLearning and will continue to monitor the progress of COVID-19 in Broward County and surrounding communities until it is safe to return to face-to-face instruction.
Is the final 2020-21 School Year Calendar available?
The complete Board-approved 2020/21 school calendar is available.
What about my child’s schedule? How much will it need to change from what they were used to?
Good news! Students and teachers are following a similar schedule as they would in a traditional face-to-face setting.
What’s the difference between “distance learning,” “virtual learning” and eLearning?
There is hardly any difference between these education modalities. All conduct classes remotely, deliver course studies digitally online, and can involve both live and recorded instruction. For K-12, eLearning at BCPS is school-linked, providing students both social and learning continuity. Broward Virtual is a separate entity managed by the District that removes the school-based connection your child has established. Distance learning and eLearning are interchangeable terms that mean the same thing.
Canvas is a Learning Management System, connects all the digital tools teachers and students use in one easy place. With Canvas, students can:
- receive course announcements
- manage upcoming assignments for all courses in one calendar
- submit assignments
- take quizzes
- receive feedback about course work
- communicate with teachers (and other students)
Students access Canvas through their Single-Sign-On Clever Launch Pad.
Will e-Learning be flexible? Accessible? Familiar?
BCPS will deliver high-quality eLearning on the new-and-improved Canvas system, which is flexible, accessible, and easy to navigate. The District has ensured that all students who need one have access to a computer device and internet connectivity regardless of income. In addition, teachers, administration, and staff will make every effort to connect with students and parents/guardians to build those relationships we have become accustomed to in a traditional school setting.
How has BCPS improved the eLearning experience in the last six months?
The District created innovative training tools, programs and webinars for teachers and parents, including Parent University, a 90-minute introduction to eLearning for parents and four distinct modules – parents of primary school students, secondary school students, ESE students and ELL. All four modules are available at Parent University.
How will the eLearning experience this fall be more effective than it was when first offered in March?
The District’s robust distance learning program – Learning Never Closes – was never intended to provide the level of content and support the coronavirus pandemic requires. But the initiative helped BCPS be more agile and better prepared to manage the crisis in March and provide ongoing education to our students. Since then, the District has listened to students and parents and improved the platform and other learning applications it offers. We have worked closely with teachers to augment eLearning tools and enhance the student experience. The new BCPS eLearning system is better equipped to handle student demand, address parental concerns, and strengthen our teachers’ skills and expertise to optimize distance learning at home.
How do I obtain a device for my child?
Any student who needs a laptop device can obtain one by contacting their school to coordinate a device pickup.
What if I need technical support for my device or the applications my child needs to use on it?
As of August 31, technical support questions and help will be answered by your child's school. Please contact the school through its main number and ask to speak to a MicroTech. They can assist you with devices, learning applications and other technical issues you may be experiencing.
How can I help my child understand Canvas, the eLearning solution BCPS is using?
The District has created specific communications on how students access classes in Canvas and Teams. Parent guides, as well as video tutorials, are available to provide families with information on demand, visit Parent University Many schools throughout the district have hosted virtual Open Houses to acquaint families with specifics of the eLearning experience. Please contact your child’s school to find out if these resources are available.
What is Parent University – Getting Ready for School and eLearning?
Parent University is a series of live and recorded webinar sessions designed to help parents better support their students throughout the school day. Separate sessions are available for elementary schools and middle and high schools, with specific details related to Exceptional Student Education and English Language Learners provided in two separate webinars. Parent University is a series of webinars available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian-Creole, Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese via closed captioning.
What will a return to Athletics and other afterschool activities and programs look like?
The District will maintain its stay-at-home mandate for student-athletes, coaches, and staff for the start of voluntary strength and conditioning sessions at our traditional high schools. Also, for the first quarter, ALL CLUB, BAND, SGA, NHS, FFEA, ROTC and Academic Games will be delivered virtually.
Will I be able to pick up my child’s meals on their behalf?
Yes, parents may pick up student meals if the student is not in the car as long as proper identification for the student is provided. Acceptable forms of identification include birth certificates, identification badges, report cards or other forms of identification.
Will meals be distributed at all schools like normal or only at select destinations within Broward County?
Grab-and-Go meals will be available at ALL elementary, middle, and high schools every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
When will meals be distributed?
Meals will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Will my child need to come to school to pick up his meals?
No, your child does not need to be present to receive meals. You or your child can pick up student meals with proper identification.
Food and Nutrition
Do I Need To Fill Out An Application For Each Child?
No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. If you complete a paper Multi-Child Application for Meal Benefits, return the completed application to: Food and Nutrition Services, 7720 W. Oakland Park Boulevard, Suite #204, Sunrise, Florida, 33351 or your child’s school.
Who Can Get Free Meals?
All children in households receiving benefits from Florida SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Florida TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), or the FDPIR (the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations), can get free meals regardless of your income. Also, your children can get free meals if your household’s gross income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.
STOP: If you received a NOTICE OF DIRECT CERTIFICATION for free meals, do not complete the application. But do let Food and Nutrition Services know if any children in your household are not listed on the Notice of Direct Certification letter you received. See #5 for more information.
Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals. Foster children may be included as part of a household application, and are eligible for free meals, even if the household does not qualify.
Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant, are eligible for free meals. See #7 for more information.
Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals if your household gross income falls at or below the limits on the chart below:
REDUCED PRICE MEAL SCALE for School Year 2019-2020
Twice Per Month
Every Two Weeks
For each additional family member, add
Can Foster Children Get Free Meals?
Yes, foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are eligible for free meals.
Can Homeless, Runaway, And Migrant Children Get Free Meals?
Yes, children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant qualify for free meals. If you haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please call the School Board of Broward County Homeless/Runaway Liaison at 754-321-1566 or Migrant Coordinator at 754-321-1414 to see if they qualify.
Who Can Get Reduced Price Meals?
Your children can get low cost meals if your household income is within the reduced price limits on the Federal Eligibility Income Chart, shown on the application.
My Child’s Application Was Approved Last Year. Do I Need To Fill Out Another One?
Yes. Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a new application unless the Food and Nutrition Office told you that your child is eligible for the new school year.
I Get WIC. Can My Children Get Free Meals?
Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. Please fill out an application.
Will The Information I Give Be Checked?
Yes, and we may also ask you to send written proof.
If I Don’t Qualify Now, May I Apply Later?
Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.
May I Apply If Someone In My Household Is Not A U.S. Citizen?
Yes. You or your child(ren) do not have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or reduced price meals.
Who Should I Include As Members Of My Household?
You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. You must include yourself and all children living with you. If you live with other people who are economically independent (for example, people who you do not support, who do not share income with you or your children, and who pay a pro-rated share of expenses), do not include them.
What If I Disagree With The Decision About My Application?
You should talk to an official at the Food and Nutrition Services Office. You also may ask for a hearing by calling 754-321-0250 or writing to:
Director of Food and Nutrition Services, 7720 West Oakland Park Blvd, Suite #204, Sunrise, Florida, 33351.
What If My Income Is Not Always The Same?
List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.
We Are In The Military. Do We Include Our Housing Allowance As Income?
If you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.
Will information be available in other languages?
Broward County is home to a diverse population and BCPS students collectively come from 170 countries and speak nearly 150 languages and idioms. Important information is created in a culturally relevant, engaging manner in four main languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian-Creole. Multiple applications and tools like Google Translate are built into the eLearning platform as well, permitting a large range of translation capabilities our stakeholders can use.
How will families receive communications from the District?
District communications will be timely, easy to understand, and aligned with our Strategic Plan. Most communication will likely come from your child’s school and personnel, but the District will strive to keep you informed and engaged in this important conversation.
My kids are healthy and so am I. Why can’t they go back to school where they belong?
We all agree that kids belong in school, learning alongside their friends from familiar teachers in an environment they already know and feel comfortable being in. The District knows parents rely on schools to keep their kids safe and fed during the day and provide them with the discipline and instruction they need to learn and succeed.
Even so, the health and well-being of our students, teachers and staff is our #1 priority and until there is scientific evidence the virus in Broward County is well under control, District schools will remain closed for lessons and all education will remain online.
The District has studied multiple options and is using scientific guidance from medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control, and local and state leaders to determine when our schools can open again. We want that to be soon yet are firm in our resolve to put safety first and open only when specific gating criteria are met showing that it’s safe to return to face-to-face instruction. Until then, BCPS will remain closed, with instruction migrating online 100%.
Are there any resources or classes I can take to help me help my kid understand Canvas or Teams video conferencing?
We are improving our communication to families for how students access classes in Canvas and Teams. Parent guides, as well as video tutorials, will be available to provide families with the information needed on demand. For information, visit Parent University.
Will Student Support services be available for my child and my family?
The District will continue to provide crucial mental health and wellness support along with personalized one-on-one guidance, intervention, and grief recovery. Our celebrated work on mindfulness will be used in socialization breaks before, during, and after school hours.
Will childcare solutions be available to families who need them?
BCPS has worked with its partners and funders to help secure childcare services throughout the District. See a list of service providers along with an interactive map to help you find your nearest provider.
Important Resources for BCPS Students and Families