FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — When the next school year begins in August, students across South Florida will be expected to return to their classrooms.
Online classes, which started when schools shut down March 2020 because of the coronavirus, are ending in three of the state's largest school districts. The superintendents in Miami-Dade and Broward counties made the announcement on Tuesday, while Palm Beach County officials announced their decision last Friday. Schools reopened for face-to-face learning in October and more than half of the students returned to the classroom.
“There will be no blended, hybrid or remote learning for students,” Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the School Board.
“It’s about the best way to teach kids,” Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said. He tweeted that parents who want children to remain at home will have the opportunity with the Miami-Dade Online Academy.
Smaller districts in Florida have also decided to end remote learning for the next school year.
Runcie said he considered three factors in making the decision for Broward County schools — teachers can easily get the COVID-19 vaccine, an effort to make vaccinations to children 12 and older and poor academic results over the past year.
“Remote learning has had some negative impacts on students,” Runcie said. “They’ve struggled academically as well as socially and emotionally, and they need to be back in school.”
Some parents say they still want their children learning from home.
Adrienne Nolan told the South Florida SunSentinel her second grader and incoming kindergartener won't attend Coconut Creek Elementary in the fall. Instead, she's enrolling them in a state-run online program called Florida Virtual School.
Raymond Adderly, a junior at Fort Lauderdale High, told the newspaper he went back to the classroom in October. But only about a third of the students at his school have returned. He's looking forward to having everyone back on campus.
“Social interaction has really been missed,” he told the newspaper. “I also feel that there was poor instruction due to burned out teachers. It is also super hard to follow and stay motivated on the computer.”