Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie says the county is prepared to roll out a remote learning plan for students starting March 30.
Last week, school campuses across the state were closed in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That campus shutdown is set to last at least until April 15, though Runcie told reporters Wednesday he’s preparing as if that shutdown will be extended.
In the meantime, Runcie says the district will begin offering remote instruction. And should poorer students not have access to a computer at home, Runcie said the district would be giving out free computing devices beginning Friday, March 20.
“We have over 90,000 devices that are ready for distribution, should they be needed, basically laptops,” Runcie said.
“We are also working to make sure that connectivity is available to those who don’t have it.”
Internet service for those students would be free for up to 60 days, courtesy of Comcast. Parents would be required to pay $10 per month after that.
Runcie instructed parents to pick the devices up at their child’s regular school between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Miami-Dade Schools has already dispensed more than 50,000 devices, according to a report from WSVN. That county has been utilizing distance learning since March 16.
“We are ready at Miami-Dade to continue after spring break the instructional continuity plan implementation, which relies on digital content, as well as the devices that are in the hands of children already,” Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.
Runcie said his district’s plan is to allot a portion of the day to teacher instruction, while allowing another period of time for students to ask questions of the teachers remotely.
Following Florida’s decision to close schools, President Donald Trump issued recommendations to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Those recommendations run through the end of March.
Though older or chronically ill individuals bear the worst effects of the virus, people of all ages can get sick and be a carrier. Wednesday, it was announced a six-year-old in Palm Beach County had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Without a vaccine or reliable way to treat those symptoms, health officials have urged Americans to cut down on social interactions until the virus’s spread is under control.