MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A group of Broward County parents, students, and teachers are arguing they should be given the option to go back to school five days a week come August.
“If parents feel comfortable and confident in sending their kids back, then let them,” said Cooper City mom of two Anna Warburton. She said her kids, an incoming 7th grader and 2nd grader, suffered under the distance learning model put in place when school’s closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jennifer Herman is also arguing for the option to send her three kids back to school full time for the upcoming school year and told CBS4 she feels ignored by Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie.
“We feel we’re not being heard,” Herman said. “We want the option to send our children [to school]. When you look around, there are counties and states that are giving that option to parents. I’m not sure why we’re not getting that option.”
In May, Superintendent Runcie told CBS4 his school district was leaning toward a blended learning model for the 2020-2021 school year. For example, 50 percent of students would go to school on Mondays and Thursdays, then they would learn from home for the rest of the week.
“That’s not going to work for a majority of parents because number one, a lot of parents are working parents,” said Warburton. “They can’t afford to quit their jobs, they can’t afford to put kids in daycare three days a week.”
The Broward County School District sent thousands of surveys out to parents, teachers, and students within the district. When asked if they were comfortable reopening schools, the survey of parents found 6 percent were not sure, 24 percent would opt to continue fully online, 33 percent voted for a hybrid model, and 36 percent of parents would want schools to fully reopen.
While not formally set, the current model for the upcoming school year does not give families who want it the option to send their students back to school full-time. Warburton and Herman said they feel the majority is being ignored. The two moms stressed they understand going back to school full-time is not right for every family and those families should be given the option to stay at home.
“There’s always risk. There’s risk walking out the door,” Warburton said. “I feel that I have a lot more experience making health and safety decisions for my children than Robert Runcie or any member of the school board.”
The group of parents, students, and teachers plans to hold a rally outside the Broward School Board Building on Southeast 3rd Avenue next Tuesday, June 30. The rally will take place at 9 a.m. before the School Board meeting where the August reopening will be discussed.
In response to the parents’ concern, the school district released the following statement:
The District is continuing to reach out to parents to understand their preferences for what schools should look like when they reopen in the fall. A new survey offering four options will be distributed to parents on June 29. The District’s final decision will include this very important parent input as well as safety guidance provided by the CDC.