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13% of DCS students enroll in virtual school

Dade County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jan Irons Harris confirmed at the Board of Education Meeting on July 20 that 304 students have enrolled in virtual school for the 20-21 school year.


Harris said that these students have a one week grace period to determine if the virtual school is right for them. There are two different software being used to conduct virtual school.


Elementary will be using Schools PLP and all middle and high schools will use APEX. Dade High School Principal James Fahrney said the programs are designed to keep students engaged by getting students to click on different items on the screen every 15 to 20 seconds.


“One of the things that really stuck out to me [about APEX] is that their goal is to have the student interacting with the screen every 20 seconds,” Fahrney said. “You’ve got to click something. You’ve got to move something. It is constant feedback in little bite-size chunks. I’m super excited about it and that we can access that if we ever have to go to a fully digital shutdown.”


Harris said that masks, shields and water bottle filling stations have been ordered for students, faculty and staff. 


Harris also said that if a student tests positive for COVID-19 or has a fever above 100.4 during the upcoming school year, they will be isolated by an on-site nurse and sent home “immediately.” Students with fevers must stay home for at least 10 days or 72 hours after the fever breaks, which means potentially up to two weeks. The school with check temperatures multiple times a day. Harris said all parents should check their child’s temperature before sending them to school.


“Each situation is different,” Harris said. “The simplest way that I can explain how we will be monitoring who’s at school and who’s exposed is through temperature [checks].”


Harris said parents should contact the principals or herself or there are any questions or concerns that need to be answered.


“We’ll give the answers at best as we can,” Harris said.


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