CORAL SPRINGS, FL – With coronavirus cases going down, Broward County Schools Superintended Robert Runcie said Tuesday students could be returning to physical classes sometime this fall if the infection rate continues declining.

In a video to families and staff, he said the district will revisit an opening date after the Labor Day weekend.

“If the current trends continue on the path of improvement, we can open sometime this fall,” he said. “I cannot guarantee or commit to a specific date as the path of the virus will drive the decisions we have to make.”

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In recent days, the county’s positivity rate hit a recent low of 4.27 percent on Sunday but edged up to 5.66 percent on Tuesday, according to Florida Department of Health.

The rates need to be between 3-5 percent for 14 consecutive days in Broward County for the district to consider reopening the schools, even with a hybrid two-day in school and three-day virtual option, or the other way around, Runcie has said.

“The disease progression indicators are trending in the positive direction, but still remain high,” Runcie said.

Since June 1, Runcie said, 329 district employees and contractors tested positive for the virus.

Before considering reopening, there’s still a lot of challenges to overcome, including financial considerations, he said.

It will cost the district $10 million a month to buy proper protective gear and supplies as well as add cleaning protocols to keep staff and students safe on campuses, he said.

Runcie added that the costs of employee healthcare will be going up, too, as workers are already filing insurance claims.

Still, Runcie said, the district needs to open as soon as possible.

“It is enormously difficult to run this district under these circumstances. Moreover, it places a heavy burden on parents and it’s likely impacting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children,” he said.

 

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