Concerned about the spike in COVID-19 positivity rates and an uptick in younger hospital patients the past two weeks, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez are consulting with public health experts to review and discuss health guidelines and current local conditions, as well as the circumstances necessary to ensure a safe return to school.
Mayor Gimenez and Superintendent Carvalho held a virtual meeting with senior staff Thursday to discuss the federal and state criteria for re-opening schools, in the context of South Florida’s rising positivity rates. They agreed to bring together the medical experts who have been advising the County and M-DCPS, to set the science-based metrics for the conditions needed for a safe return to school.
“The Superintendent and I are very worried about our children returning to school next month unless the spread of the virus is tamped down immediately,” Mayor Gimenez said. “I also want to make sure that working parents have options for the school year, but we must have a safe environment. Children and teenagers may not even know they have the virus, but they can be spreading it to their teachers and classmates with autoimmune problems or other medical conditions, as well as spreading it to their parents and grandparents, who are at highest risk of severe symptoms and death from COVID-19,” Mayor Gimenez added. “That’s why it’s so important for everyone to wear masks, social distance and wash their hands often. It’s up to all of us to change the trajectory of this deadly virus.”
The Miami-Dade School Board unanimously approved a detailed and dynamic schools reopening plan, crafted based upon public health guidelines and medical expertise, with the understanding that its implementation is based on Miami-Dade County moving into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. Local conditions are at the heart of this decision making.
“The reopening of schoolhouses across our state and nation cannot be a one-size-fits all approach,” said Superintendent Carvalho. “In addition to scientific data, the unique circumstances our community is facing must be taken into account. We are working closely with the Mayor, seasoned medical experts and educators to guide our decision making, and ensure all community parameters are clear for the safe return of our students and employees.”
Much like their joint efforts to eradicate the causes of youth violence and to secure schools, Mayor Gimenez and Superintendent Carvalho are committed to ensuring all children, educators and employees return to schools under the safest conditions possible during this pandemic.
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