Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) continues to calibrate its efforts in all capacities to enable the successful implementation of distance learning, community food stability, and school system operations.
Instructional Delivery and Grading
Hundreds of thousands of students and teachers continue to utilize online platforms to engage in distance learning. Since the M-DCPS Instructional Continuity Plan was launched on Monday, March 13, there have been more than 1.5 million student logins onto educational application Edgenuity and tens of thousands of student-teacher replies on Edmodo. These are just two of the many digital platforms available for teachers to connect directly with students and parents/guardians.
During phase 1 of distance learning (March 16 – 20, 2020), teachers and students are adjusting to teaching and learning in a new way. During this phase, students will not be penalized academically. Teachers have the option to grade assignments during the week of March 16 – 20 only if they positively impact an individual student’s final grade during grading period 3. Additionally, information regarding grading practices for grading period 4 will be forthcoming.
While students are welcome to continue their learning over Spring Recess, it is not required and will not be monitored. M-DCPS hopes all students, families, and teachers take the time to enjoy the break, even during this challenging time. Distance learning will resume Monday, March 30, and it remains critically important that parents/guardians encourage and assist in its facilitation.
Students and parents may access the M-DCPS comprehensive Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP) by logging onto http://icp.dadeschools.net/. As part of the established plan, the District has also adapted content to be accessible for students with special needs and English Language Learners. Students can access their applications via the Student Portal. A new informational sheet on the frequently asked questions related to distance learning can be found at http://covid19.dadeschools.net. The Distance Learning Helpline (305-995-HELP) also remains open daily from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. until Friday, March 20th and will resume operations following Spring Recess.
Since Friday, March 13, M-DCPS has deployed nearly 54,000 devices to ensure all students are participating in distance learning. The deadline to receive a device or exchange an existing one has been extended. Students who need devices may pick them up at school sites through end of day Friday, March 20.
The District will continue to collaborate with private and public sector partners to ensure geographic areas lacking Internet connectivity are addressed, eliminating any digital deserts that may exist. M-DCPS is currently working to add an additional hotline for teachers, students, and parents to specifically address connectivity issues.To assist in Internet connectivity, Comcast continues to offer free WiFi via Xfinity hotspots where Xfinity service is available for 60 days. This is in addition to the Internet Essentials Program, normally $9.95 per month, that will provide an in-home modem and 60 days of free service for eligible low-income M-DCPS families.
Participation in this program is strongly recommended for those in need. More information about the free Internet service can be found at http://distancelearning.dadeschools.net/. Access to free WiFi connections via hotspots should be limited to educational use or other essential health and safety functions. Comcast has also agreed to provide flexibility on late fees and payment options. Those struggling to pay for internet service should contact 1-800-Comcast.
Teams of 20 to 30 custodians, supervised by master custodians, have been sanitizing schools since early Monday morning. The teams are expected to sanitize 35 schools in this first week, using hospital-grade germicides to clean floors, classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, gyms, all common areas and contact points; wiping and mopping down surfaces and fogging where needed. Maintenance personnel is also addressing air quality control by replacing air conditioning filters and cleaning coils. So far, 12,000 air filters have been replaced. The crews are following contagious disease protocols, which include personal protective gear and washing what they use.
Capital Improvement Projects
The school closures have allowed the District to accelerate the timeline of capital improvement projects at school sites. To date, 31 construction projects have been sped up, though the District does anticipate some challenges in the future related to the distribution chain of supplies in the private sector.
Meal Distribution for Students
The District will continue to provide free “grab-and-go” breakfasts and lunches to students and their families, in external areas of school sites between 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. this week. During Spring Recess, M-DCPS school sites will close, however the District is working with partners to organize community feedings. Information about the distribution schedule and sites will be provided later this week.
During the first three days of school closures, M-DCPS food service personnel distributed more than 100,000 hot to-go meals, demonstrating the great level of need in our community. All food distribution follows the mandates of the Florida Department of Health, including how long food can be stored. In an effort to comply with social distancing recommendations, M-DCPS is working to ensure there are no lines at schools awaiting food pick-up. Cafeteria employees are following social distancing requirements, and are limited to less than 10 workers at school at one time.
The District is also working with additional partners to ensure that our homeless student population is provided with the necessary resources during this difficult time.
M-DCPS Facilitated Childcare for Health Workers
M-DCPS will continue to assist in the operation of childcare centers for children of essential medical personnel of Jackson Health and University of Miami Health Systems. Understanding the critical role these parents have for the health of our community, this service will continue through Spring Recess and beyond.
Federal Advocacy Efforts
The District continues advocating at the federal level for flexibility to provide meals for students and their families, expansion of Internet access, and funding to support the continuity of services and relief for employees affected by school closures. M-DCPS is also working to mitigate any potential budget reductions for this year and next.
As the FLDOE announced late Tuesday afternoon, all K-12 schools and career and technical center campuses are to remain closed through April 15. All state-required assessments have been cancelled through the remainder of the school year. All remaining assessments for school readiness, voluntary pre-kindergarten and K-12 assessments are cancelled. Requirements for graduation and promotion, and final course grades will be evaluated as though those assessments, which were cancelled, did not exist. In addition, school performance grades will not be calculated for the 2019-2020 academic year.
M-DCPS Support Lines:
District Emergency Operations hotline: 305-995-3000
o To answer questions from students, parents and other community members about school district-related coronavirus response efforts.
o Hours of Operation: M – F from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Instructional Learning Plan hotline: 305-995-HELP (4357)
o To support students, parents and teachers in engaging in distance learning.
o Hours of Operation: M – F from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Mental Health Services hotline: 305-995-7100
o To assist students and their families with mental health support..
o Hours of Operation: M – F from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
M-DCPS Employee Assistance Program: 305-995-7111
o To assist with wellness support for employees.
o Hours of Operation: M – F from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
M-DCPS Online Resources
continual updates on M-DCPS actions connected to the coronavirus outbreak.
o Includes information on digital resources for educators and students.
o Provides information on free Comcast internet as well as useful digital tools and tutorials.
o Provides the M-DCPS framework for distance learning for pre-K-12 students.
The District will continue to monitor all developments in this evolving situation and will communicate via the links above, as well as through automated messaging, media announcements and social media.
For the most up-to-date information, please download the Dadeschools mobile app to your iPhone or Android device. Follow us on Twitter @mdcps and @miamisup, on Instagram @miamischools and @miamisup, and on Facebook at MiamiSchools and AlbertoCarvalho
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