Most online classes will end in Broward County; students must return to campus in the fall

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Scott Travis, South Florida Sun Sentinel
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Most of Broward’s online classes will end after this spring, and students will be expected to return for face-to-face learning in the fall.

Although limited online classes will still be available through the district’s Broward Virtual School, classroom teachers will be instructing only students in person and not ones at home.

Superintendent Robert Runcie made the announcement at a School Board meeting on Tuesday. It follows a similar announcement by Palm Beach County on Friday.

Runcie said he considered the ease of teachers to get now get vaccinated for COVID-19, an effort to make vaccinations available to kids 12 and over and poor academic results this past year. The number of students receiving failing grades more than doubled compared to before the pandemic.

“Remote learning has had some negative impacts on students,” Runcie said. “They’ve struggled academically as well as socially and emotionally, and they need to be back in school.”

The district switched to all online education in March 2020 and kept offering it, even when schools reopened in February. More than half of parents chose the option.

The district has offered a small online program called Broward Virtual for 20 years, Unlike the remote learning option from the past year, it does not involve live face-to-face teaching, but is designed for more independent students.

Space in Broward Virtual has traditionally been limited, but the district is looking for ways to expand it, Runcie said.

He said the district will survey parents to see how much demand there may be.

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