Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie during a press conference on Wednesday.
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie during a press conference on Wednesday.

By: Saraana Jamraj

As COVID-19 continues to affect education in everyday life across the country, students now have to prepare to continue their semester, remotely, starting on March 30.

“We’ve been preparing for several weeks for this eventuality that we would have to extend the closing period beyond Spring Break,” said Superintendent Robert Runcie.

He said the district is preparing for the possibility that schools might be closed beyond April 15 — possibly until June 30. As a result, they’re going to be depending more heavily on Canvas, the remote, online learning tool, to continue the semester.

“We have lesson plans and content for every grade level, every subject, including for our young learners, our exceptional needs students, bilingual ESOL, we’re covering the arts, physical education — all subjects that are taught, we will have content,” said Runcie.

After students return from Spring Break, they’ll be responsible for schoolwork once again, and because they will need a computer to continue their education, the school board will be providing them to students in need.

“We’re going to make sure that every student in Broward County has access to these educational opportunities,” said Runcie.

Distribution of the computing devices will begin Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at each school. Parkland parents and guardians will need to pick up the devices at the schools and have them authenticated there.

Students may also pick up any personal items, such as medication or musical instruments, during that same time period.

For students without internet access, Runcie said the school board would be working with Comcast to be providing Internet Essentials for the first two months.

“It’s approximately $10 a month thereafter—we’re continuing to work with Comcast to ensure we can get even further discounts from that,” said Runcie.

Runcie also gave an update on teachers’ pay, stating that all teachers and staff— full time, part-time, substitute teachers, hourly workers—will see no disruption in their pay.

As many students depend on the meals provided during school, Runcie said they would be extending their feeding programs to even more sites.

“Meals will continue to be served, Monday through Friday, breakfast from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.,” he said.

Meals will resume on the same day that virtual classes begin, March 30.

Towards the end of the press conference, he shared that further guidance will be provided in the coming days, for parents and guardians on how to assist the schools as they prepare for remote learning.

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