Frequently Asked Questions

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) strives to return ALL students back to the schoolhouse for the 2020-2021 school year. However, Miami-Dade County is currently still in Phase 1 of the State’s Reopening plan and has seen recent increases in positive cases over the last several weeks. Because the situation is fluid in our community, these guidelines are only applicable as of July 8, 2020, and will be updated as conditions change. Additionally, it is important to note that the instructional models described herein are contingent on both the Florida Department of Education’s approval and our county transitioning to Phase 2 of its reopening.

Our goal is to have all students return to the schoolhouse in a safe environment this fall.

For additional information, visit reopening.dadeschools.net or call 305 995-HELP (4357).

General

The 2020-2021 school year is scheduled to begin on August 24, 2020.

Parents can declare their enrollment intention via the Parent Portal, the Dadeschools Mobile App by clicking on the Schooling Preference icon, or by completing and submitting the questionnaire located at reopening.dadeschools.net. Parents may also pick up a Phase 2 Declaration of Intent form at any school and either deliver a copy to the main office of their child’s school or email it to the school’s principal.

To complete the survey on the Dadeschools Mobile App, parents must have their child(ren) linked to their account. If your child is not linked, please contact your child’s school and provide proper identification to obtain your unique six-digit pin.

If you change your mind after the initial selection period has ended, the District will make every effort to accommodate your request, but it cannot be guaranteed. We are asking families to thoroughly research the options available to them by visiting reopening.dadeschools.net. This information will be guiding school building capacity, transportation, scheduling, and the hiring of teachers at each school. If a parent submits multiple Declarations of Intent (or schooling preferences), the most recent submission will serve as the official preference. In other words, the last submission will override earlier submissions. The submission period will end Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Children scheduled to enter Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade for the 2020-2021 school year need to be properly immunized or they will not be allowed to enter school. For more information, visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/immunization/children-and-adolescents/school-immunization-requirements/index.html. The District strongly recommends that children get the flu vaccine.

Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, nonessential visitors to campuses will be limited. Partnerships with businesses, alumni, municipalities, chambers and other Community Based Organizations will continue to support the needs of our students, their families, and the District. Decisions in terms of partnership activities on school campuses will be made based on the Reopening Phase for Miami-Dade County and following recommended CDC guidelines. All volunteers, mentors, and community partners will be encouraged to continue their services, such as tutoring students, via digital platforms. In those cases where a physical visit to the school is needed, an appointment will need to made with the school.

Charter schools are governed by individual boards, which are granted the authority and responsibility to develop and implement their reopening plan. Private and archdiocese schools are not governed by The School Board of Miami-Dade County, but must comply with legal requirements set forth in the law and the Commissioner of Education’s Executive Order.

Learning Models

As is currently the case, course offerings will vary by school regardless of the model. Additionally, some secondary elective offerings will not be available through My School Online. Specific limitations as it relates to course offerings (mostly secondary in nature) will be forthcoming.

No. Students that opt for My School Online will follow a regular schedule and will interact with their teachers daily using web conferencing technology. Daily student-teacher interactions will provide a structure similar to a classroom setting and teachers will facilitate and guide student learning. Additionally, course materials will be consistent across schools and classrooms, limiting the number of platforms students need to access to complete their assignments.

My School Online (MSO) is M-DCPS’ innovative learning model for those students in grades K-12 who wish to take online classes full-time, but still maintain their enrollment at their home school. Students who choose to participate in MSO will receive remote instruction from M-DCPS teachers using high-quality course materials and will follow the standard school schedule and bell times. They will also maintain their enrollment status at their brick-and-mortar school and will be permitted to return to their schools. Students who are currently enrolled in an M-DCPS Magnet school, who opt for MSO, are guaranteed their seat back upon the announcement of Phase 3 and the full reopening of traditional schooling. Miami-Dade Online (MDO) Academy is a fully-accredited Miami-Dade County public school offering students a comprehensive K-12 full-time virtual educational program, providing anytime, anywhere learning. This virtual, innovative, and interactive learning environment is student-centered and academically individualized to build educational capacity. Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is its own fully-accredited public school district comprised of six schools, with flexible and full-time options for elementary, middle, and high school students. It is not a Miami-Dade County public school. Students currently enrolled in an M-DCPS Magnet school who opt for either FLVS or Miami-Dade Online Academy will not have their seat reserved at their Magnet school at the end of Phase 2, should they wish to return to brick and mortar.

Students who attend Magnet Schools and schools with special programs can opt for My School Online; however, they may not be able to access all of the specialized course offerings available at their school. Magnet schools and schools with specialized programs may offer a hybrid model depending on their unique circumstances. Dual Enrollment courses will continue to be offered in partnership with local colleges and universities. Courses will be offered both online and on the college campus, subject to the instructional delivery model selected by the credit-granting college. AP/IB/Cambridge courses will continue to be offered at schools with these programs to the extent possible.

Accommodations for students with special needs will be made in accordance with each student’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and/or 504 Plan to the extent practicable.

There are several ways that parents can support their child’s learning:

  • Ensure that a mobile device and internet access are available at home; contact 305-995-3000 if there is a need for a mobile device and/or internet access for at-home use.
  • Monitor District communications for up-to-date information regarding distance learning resources.
  • Visit The Parent Academy for webinars, resources, and up-to-date information on distance learning.
  • Ensure that your children know their usernames and passwords for instructional resources and encourage their participation in distance learning offerings.
  • Maintain communication with your children’s teachers and school counselor(s).
  • Engage your children in conversations regarding assignments.
  • Monitor time spent engaging in online and offline learning.
  • Support your children’s emotional balance by providing time for physical activity and play.

Health and Safety

M-DCPS will implement the following measures to ensure every effort is taken to provide social distancing at school site facilities, including adjustments of class sizes, adjustments of school bus routes to promote greater social distancing, one-way hallways, and capacity limitations for restrooms and elevators.

Facial coverings will be required in school facilities and on District transportation. The exceptions will be during meals, while engaging in strenuous physical activity, or if there is an underlying health concern for a specific student. In these situations, distancing guidelines will be followed and alternate arrangements may be made.

Based upon the latest recommendations from public health experts, temperature checks for students will not be performed when entering the schoolhouse. Parents are strongly encouraged to perform temperature checks at home and to keep children home upon any sign of illness. If a student appears ill while at school, staff will conduct a screening.

The District has developed strategies to ensure students and employees are able to practice good hygiene while on campus. Sanitation stations will be installed in high‐traffic areas, including the building entrance, cafeteria, and hallways. Procedures to encourage handwashing breaks, limit sharing of materials, and encourage the use of digital resources for instruction will be established at school sites. Cafeterias, gyms, and media centers may be also be repurposed for instructional use. Capacity limitations will be placed for restrooms and elevator usage. M-DCPS has also significantly augmented its cleaning and sanitization regimens for all schools, facilities, and school buses.

In the event a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school site will take the following steps:

  • Initiate contact tracing to identify staff and students who may have been exposed.
  • In collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, the District will utilize a guidance tool to determine if/when school closures may occur, and implement established cleaning protocols.
  • The District will also follow guidance from the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County for any school-wide or community notification that is deemed necessary.

Any school closures will be determined in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. If a school closure is necessary, a deep cleaning and sanitization will be performed. Schools will reopen after the risk of exposure has been fully evaluated. While schools are closed, students will participate in remote learning during the length of closure.

Students will be placed in an isolation room with trained personnel for supervision. A screening will be conducted and the parent/guardian will be contacted for immediate pick-up.

Students who are unable to attend in-person learning due to COVID-19 complications will transition to distance learning to ensure continuity of instruction. The District will ensure the students are equipped with technology support to transition to remote learning.

The M-DCPS Department of Mental Health Services will continue to provide a blended model of support to students and families, inclusive of in-person and online deployment of mental health services. For additional support, please contact the Mental Health Parent Assistance Line at 305 995-7100.

Sanitization

School site custodial activities have been adjusted to increase the frequency of sanitizing high‐touch areas. At the end of each day, custodial teams will sanitize all areas of the campus, including cafeterias, classrooms, restrooms, gym and locker rooms, offices, and public areas in preparation for the next day of learning.

The District is using hospital‐grade germicide to clean and sanitize facilities through various delivery systems to ensure that solutions are sprayed correctly and evenly.

Meals

The District is committed to ensuring students have access to healthy meals throughout the day. School meals will be distributed in single-use containers or through the cafeteria service line for consumption in the classroom or an alternative space where social distancing is possible.

Yes, all students enrolled in M-DCPS school locations, for in-person or District-provided online learning, will be eligible.

Transportation

As the District prepares to transport students this upcoming school year, we will implement strategies such as reducing bus capacity, requiring face coverings while riding the bus, and reconfiguring bus routes to maintain reliable transportation. Hand sanitizing stations will also be available on every school bus. School buses are also being sanitized daily and between morning and afternoon routes.

Internships

Students enrolled in the Academic Year Internship Program and their providers will be given the option of virtual, in-person, or hybrid internships. A parent waiver has been developed for those students who wish to have an in-person experience at the provider’s site. Both parties (student/family and the provider) must agree to the in-person internship.

Athletics and Activities

The District understands the many benefits of extracurricular activities to the overall student experience and will continue to offer opportunities to safely participate, in alignment with current CDC guidelines and Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) rules. A phased plan has been developed for our students to safely engage in athletics and activities.

To the extent school sites are open under Phase 2, the District intends to offer before- and after school care programs where they can be safely accommodated. Changes in cost and hours may be required in order to accommodate CDC Guidelines.

Employee Protection and Support

The following measures will be taken to ensure the health and safety of all employees:

  • Daily Health Screenings
  • Distanced Work Stations
  • Social Distancing
  • Physical Barriers
  • Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Healthy Hygiene Practices/ Hand Washing/Sanitizing
  • Sick employees must stay home
  • Virtual Meetings
  • Avoid sharing of equipment

If an employee has an underlying medical condition that places them at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19, and they are being asked to physically report to the workplace and are unable or unwilling to do so, they should be referred to the District’s Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Office at ADAoffice@dadeschools.net or 305-995-7116.

Employees experiencing increased anxiety, fear, or emotional stress surrounding COVID-19 may seek assistance from the District’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by emailing  jfgarcia@dadeschools.net or by calling 305 995-7111. Additionally, M-DCPS continues to provide employees with meaningful and innovative training and professional development.