Broward County Public Schools to Hold Emergency School Board Meeting to Discuss Mandate from Florida Department of Education to Open All Schools by Monday, October 5
On Friday, September 25, 2020, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) received correspondence from Florida’s Commissioner of Education, indicating that the District’s state-approved 2020/21 Innovative Reopening Plan, which states, “The District anticipates needing to remain in the eLearning modality for the first quarter of instruction (ending October 16, 2020),” was no longer an option, and the Florida Department of Education was mandating our schools to open by October 5.
In Commissioner Corcoran’s letter, the District was offered three options: 1) follow the approved plan, 2) submit an amended plan for approval by the state or 3) withdraw the plan and proceed under the existing statutory framework. It was made clear that funding for BCPS would be in jeopardy depending on the option selected.
The District responded to the Commissioner on September 25 choosing to follow our approved plan and received a second communication from the Commissioner on September 28. We are continuing to communicate with the Department of Education.
A Special Emergency School Board Meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, October 1, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. to review our modified recommendations for reopening. Given the financial implications in not complying with the state’s mandated order, there is likelihood of us recommending an earlier start date.
The District’s main consideration has always been – and remains – the health and safety of our students and teachers and our ability to provide quality education. We want students to return to the classrooms when it is safe to do so.
Based on this newly mandated timeline, there are numerous considerations and actions that will have to be compressed into an extremely short timeframe to meet an October 5 reopening:
- The deadline for teachers to complete a survey regarding their intent to return to school was Tuesday, September 29. From the surveys, we are currently assessing if we have enough teachers to educate our students, or if more teachers have to be hired.
- The deadline for the parent survey, indicating whether students will remain at home or return to school, was also Tuesday, September 29. The results will tell us how many students will return to campus, which is another indicator of the number of teachers we’ll need in our classrooms.
- Bus routes need to be finalized with the number of parents who say their children will ride the bus based on student eligibility as identified in Florida Statute 1011.68.
- The survey information will also tell us how many additional laptops will be needed in our schools.
- Staff has been working diligently to prepare our 238 schools for an October 16 opening. The time left to complete the preparations is now four days.
Advancing the District’s opening date by nine days will create obvious challenges. During this time, we ask that our BCPS community – our families and students, our teachers and staff - appreciates the complexity of the situation and know that we will continue to work hard and be transparent.
We understand that moving nine days earlier, from October 14 to October 5, will create challenges for every teacher, administrator and all staff in the District, but we also know each of us will do our part to be successful because, above all else, we recognize our responsibility to provide a quality education in a safe environment for all students in Broward County Public Schools to prepare them for a successful future.
BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 170 different countries and 147 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.