Miami-Dade School Board Changes In-Person Schooling Return Date

Ana Martinez, Feature Editor/Designer

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, the Miami-Dade School Board decided to begin staggered in-person schooling on Oct. 5, after an hours-long meeting with votes and debate. The change in the learning system will affect how public schools function, including Miami Palmetto Senior High School.

Last week, the school board decided to move the start of in-person schooling to the week of Oct. 14 due to parent, teacher and staff complaints regarding the original re-opening date of Oct. 5. However, the board reversed this decision by voting to begin opening schools the week of Oct. 5 after an objection to the Oct. 14 plan last Friday by Gov. Ron Desantis’ Florida Educator Commissioner Richard Corcoran. 

Corcoran pressured the county to conform to the original state reopening plan from July by stating that the country could consequently lose anywhere from $54 million to $85 million in funding. As a result, the school board unanimously decided to move the school reopening date back to Oct. 5. 

All Miami-Dade public schools open on a staggered schedule, meaning that certain grades will go back before others. Families that opted for their children to return to school in the county poll in July can return to school physically. Specifically, students in Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, first grade and students with disabilities return to school Oct. 5. The remaining elementary school students and students in grades 6, 9 and 10 return Wednesday, Oct. 7. All remaining students return on Friday, Oct. 9.

The change to physical school will additionally affect the start time of school. At MPSH, school begins at 7:20 a.m. and ends at 2:20 p.m. for all students starting Wednesday, Oct.7. 

MPSH additionally requires all students to wear masks and follow the social distancing rules at school. Also, students receive 10 minutes, rather than five minutes, to get to class between each period. Students must follow directional flow in the hallways; staircases only go in one direction. Students also have three lunch periods and can choose to eat either in the Pawvilion or in the cafeteria. Regarding scheduling and teachers, a substitute teacher now holds the place of one’s actual teacher to supervise the classroom if a teacher decides to stay at home. 

The Miami-Dade School Board’s change to in-person schooling changes the way MPSH functions for all teachers, students and staff. Although further details on MPSH’s school day remain uncertain, students can stay updated and hopeful for the future through following @thepantherpaper on Instagram and checking the student portal and MPSH website daily.