BY KAREN SUROS
The last time Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) shut their doors to students, everyone was anticipating an exciting spring break. COVID-19 was essentially background noise as teachers finished up the third quarter and prepared for the end of the year. No one expected that the pandemic would last until the summer, much less until the next year.
“I never expected this would happen,” senior Jamie Tatis said. “The last day of school feels like a dream when I think about it. It was just a normal day, but I never expected it would be the last normal day for this long.”
Now, students and teachers anticipate Thanksgiving break as they prepare to release interim reports. COVID-19 has taken center stage in the day-to-day lives of Americans, occupying a large portion of the platform for the most recent election. Who knows how much longer this will last?
There are presently 914,000 cases in the state of Florida. Over the past week, there has been an average of 6,748 cases daily, which is an increase of 54 percent from the average two weeks ago. The sudden influx of new cases as the holidays approach concerns the school board, given that a number of cases have occurred in students and faculty attending school in-person.
“It was just a normal day, but I never expected it would be the last normal day for this long.”Senior Jamie Tatis
Superintendent Robert Runcie feels that families should have the option of either continuing online learning or sending students to attend schools in-person. Runcie wants to continue offering the option of online learning for the second semester.
“I would rather [the county] close schools now so we can go to school by the spring,” senior Rheanna Willaims said.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered districts to offer in-person learning for the current school year, an order which expires January 8. At this point, the state might elect to enforce in-person learning.
“Staying home is the best option for my family right now,” Tatis said. “My parents are looking forward to sending me back eventually, but not while the cases are still going up.”
Currently, 37% of Florida students are attending schools virtually, but everyday more and more parents elect to send their students to school in-person. This has led to an increase in cases at schools, yet this has concerned parents. Even more concerning is the lack of information parents receive in regards to coronavirus cases at schools.
“We get all our information from the news, but it would be nice if schools gave us more details.”Senior Rheanna Willaims
“We get all our information from the news, but it would be nice if schools gave us more details,” Williams said.
Halloween and upcoming holidays might hold much of the blame for the abrupt spike in cases. Despite it being discouraged by Broward County, individuals participated in trick-or-treating, costume parties and other festivities.
“I’m disappointed that the pandemic has lasted for this long,” senior Trevor Frank said. “I was hoping it’d be gone in time for Christmas. I’m still excited to celebrate, but it’s just not going to be the same.”
As the holiday season approaches and some families plan to celebrate like normal, the upward trend is sure to continue. Ultimately, BCPS and the state of Florida may follow in the steps of others and close down schools once again.
Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald