By Jill Fox
Last but not least, with numerous regulations in place, it was Broward County’s turn for an end to homeschool for some, but not for most.
Parents who chose to send their children back to their brick-and-mortar classrooms began their in-person schedules on October 9. The first of three groups to return to campus included pre-k, kindergarten, first, second, and ESE students. But, since Broward County’s eLearning phase 2 is simply “a change of location,” Parkland parents had a tough decision to make.
According to Broward County Schools, “Live instruction by teachers will continue through Teams and Canvas, affording a level of community and continuity for both eLearning groups, whether they are at home or in the classroom.”
The main difference is that the portion of students who returned to school campuses needed to comply with physical distancing, wear facial coverings, and adhere to other public health safety measures while in school.
Sarah Politz, mom to a first and third-grader, said when she asked her son, Brayden, 6, about wearing his mask all day, he said, “Mom, it’s no big deal–I got used to it.”
“Seeing his smile as he walked to my car made me feel much better,” said Politz, “I was anxious all day about school.”
In a Broward County school district survey, parents were asked if their children would return for in-person classes. For the Parkland elementary schools, 41% of Park Trails, 32% of Heron Heights, and 44% of Riverglades students answered that they would be returning to campus.
However, as the day drew near for the State’s last district to reopen, the number of students heading back to Parkland campuses took a downturn.
After school began on Friday, a text to parents from Park Trails Elementary School said, “We had 170 babies arrive safely today ready for the first day of Phase 2 Elearning. Thank you, parents, for a smooth arrival.”
Some classes had just two students in attendance, while the teacher continued to teach the rest of the children remotely.
Maris Orlinksy’s daughter, Stevie, returned to her first-grade classroom at Heron Heights with six out of 25. Stevie’s favorite part of the day was being able to eat in the cafeteria with her friends.
At afternoon pick-up, parents wearing masks stood behind newly installed barricades awaiting the new dismissal procedures while keeping their distance from one another.
Jen Levin said her second-grade son went back to school because he needed to get out of the house, and they wanted to give it a try. Her fourth grader will be back on Tuesday, October 13, when the other grades return.
Monica Steinberg’s daughter, Nava, had her first day of in-person kindergarten at Park Trails and loved it.
“To have a kid come home to you and say how much they loved school and can’t wait to go back is music to a parent’s ears.”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.