By: Jen Russon
In a ‘meet and chat’ event held at J.P. Taravella High School, Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright answered questions submitted via Twitter and audience members.
On Thursday, Cartwright was joined by Lori Alhadeff, District 4 school board member, and countywide at-large member Donna Korn.
The trio was asked pressing questions covering COVID-19 policies, virtual learning, teacher shortage,s and the use of randomized metal detectors at schools.
One of the most pressing questions was about COVID-19. Parents and teachers inquired if Broward County Schools would close again as cases continue to surge.
“Once we get through this wave, we’ll probably start seeing some of the things we saw before winter break because we do provide the most normal school environment possible,” said Cartwright.
She added the reality of the pandemic’s huge impact on absences was both unfortunate and undeniable.
“We’ve had an off-the-chart absenteeism rate compared to what we’d normally have right now,” said Cartwright, citing figures including 1700 callouts from teachers in a single week, as well as over 20,000 students.
School board members Alhadeff and Korn joined the Superintendent in assuring Broward County families public schools would remain open, offering The Florida Virtual School as an option for those who wish to learn remotely.
The board members said students who have been quarantined should access their classrooms on Canvas via the single server sign-on to Clever.
Describing their response as ‘an all hands on deck approach”, Cartwright said hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing remain strongly encouraged and that COVID tests are available for students and staff at some campuses.
The Meet and Chat panelists also confirmed that regular graduation ceremonies were planned. Another school safety agenda item addressed by Cartwright and fellow school board members was a pending vote on metal detector wands, which have already been purchased.
On January 11, the school board will vote on the use of randomized metal detection wands and pre-screenings at athletic and other school events.
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- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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