Miami-Dade schools asks parents: Hybrid or online learning?

On campus, students will wear masks in smaller classes; online, learners will take courses in real-time
By: | July 7, 2020
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho connects with students online.Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho connects with students online.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools is letting parents and families pick whether their students return to a hybrid of in-person and online learning, or remain completely remote when schools reopen later this summer.

In the first option, which the district calls “Schoolhouse,” students on school campuses will interact with teachers and classmates on a traditional schedule and everyone will be required to wear masks. Students will be grouped in cohorts for smaller class sizes.

Many students will pick up “grab and go” meals to eat in their classrooms, while other meals will be delivered directly to classrooms for younger students. Administrators will also revamp bus routes to accommodate reduced occupancy, increase the number of stops to allow for social distancing, and hire more drivers.

In the e-learning component of the hybrid model, administrators will limit the number of digital platforms used to deliver content in an effort to create a seamless transition between in-school and e-learning, the district says on its website.

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Administrators developed the district’s fully online option based on feedback gathered from parents after online learning in the spring.

Students will access course content through a single platform and participate in synchronous, real-time learning with teachers for every class, each day.

Miami-Dade educators expect parents who choose to remain fully online will makes sure their children are participating in class every day, completing all assignments and making progress.

All core subjects will be offered online, but electives will be limited, and teachers will make themselves available each day to meet virtually with individual students.

Students will be allowed to return to their schools whenever they are ready.

Stopping the ‘COVID slide’

Earlier this summer, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho launched “Securing Opportunities for Academic Recovery,” or SOAR. The program is a two-part summer school that will began in June low teacher-to-student ratios and personalized instruction.

More from DA: How SEL, personalized learning drive a Texas district’s reopening

The focus is on credit recovery, summer reading and remediation for students with disabilities, students with an excessive amount of absences, and students who did not engage in distance learning.

The district has distributed 114,000 digital devices and achieved close to 100 percent connectivity for online learning, Carvahlo told District Administration last month.

“It is our goal to turn what has been a very disruptive health crisis into an academic opportunity,” Carvalho said. “Our goal is to reach academic stabilization, by the end of 2020-21 school year, for groups of students who have always demonstrated achievement gaps.”

DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.