Remote learning in Miami-Dade County
Prepared for Remote Learning
Five days after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, Miami-Dade County closed its schools to students. Lessons continued, however — thousands of students and teachers logged in at home on their iPads, laptops and computers to continue their studies via video-conferencing and online education platforms.
Local officials say they were able to switch quickly to remote learning largely because of a $1.2-billion bond referendum, approved in 2012, that enabled the district to upgrade infrastructure and technology, including new mobile digital devices for students and training in online instruction for teachers.
In anticipation of the shutdown, schools surveyed parents about their children’s access to computers and the internet at home. They then distributed more than 57,000 devices to students who needed them, while Comcast Xfinity agreed to provide 60 days of free wififor families without home internet.
Unstable home environments, learning disabilities, special needs and unfamiliarity with technology prevented some students from participating in distance learning, however. “Some kids, if they don’t know their passwords to get on to a certain platform, it makes it more difficult. It creates another barrier,” says Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade.
“Our position has been that we want teachers to use whatever makes it easy for them to communicate with their students,” she says. “We’ve seen a lot of teachers create WhatsApp chats and private Facebook pages with parents to troubleshoot any issues at home. People have just been really clever.”
- Delorean Holdings paid $15.5 million for about 20,000 square feet of commercial space at Biscayne Plaza, a 22-story condo building in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. Commercial tenants include a Chase bank branch and several restaurants.
- New York-based East End Capital proposed developing a 525,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use project with apartments, offices and retail in the Wynwood neighborhood.
- Jacksonville-based Mac Papers, which makes office supplies, printer paper and packaging, sold a 137,872-sq.-ft. warehouse in Hialeah for $14.7 million to an affiliate of Dallasbased Spirit Realty.
- Starwood Capital Group paid $28.5 million for Villa Biscayne Apartments, a 180-unit complex in south MiamiDade.
- New Urban Development, the development arm of the non-profit Urban League of Greater Miami, sought regulatory approval to increase the size of a planned affordable senior housing complex in Miami Gardens from 100 units to 150 units.
- Aventura-based Immocorp Capital paid the city of Miami Gardens $15.4 million for a 35.6-acre development site near Hard Rock Stadium.
- Oak Brook, Ill.-based CenterPoint Properties bought a logistics site leased to Amazon near Miami International Airport for $29.5 million.
- Coral Gablesbased Quirch Foods, a wholesale distributor of fresh and frozen food, opened a distribution center in Greensboro, N.C.
- Doral-based retail investment company Cool Holdings will buy GameStop subsidiary Simply Mac, an authorized reseller of Apple products, for $1.25 million, down from a previously agreed purchase price of $8 million. The companies agreed to the new price after Cool Holdings failed to make its first quarterly payment. A proposal by Cool Holdings to immediately pay GameStop $250,000 was “an integral part” of the settlement, executives say. Cool Holdings also released $345,000 held in escrow to GameStop, which was eager to get the underperforming subsidiary off its books.
- Michelle Abbs, formerly director of Babson WIN Lab Miami, an accelerator program for women entrepreneurs, now leads Mana Tech, an effort by real estate developer Moishe Mana to create a tech hub in downtown Miami.
- Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula died May 4 at his South Florida home at age 90. Shula is the only Nflcoach to have an undefeated season, in 1972. He won back-to-back Super Bowls and had 347 career wins, still the best in the NFL.
- Hotel occupancy in Miami-Dade County fell from nearly 90% to 20% as the coronavirus began upending life across South Florida, Rolando Aedo, COO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, told the Miami Herald.
- Cruise activity at PortMiami ground to a halt, and tourists were asked to leave the Florida Keys.
- The Florida Army National Guard set up a COVID-19 drive-through testing center near Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
- Miami-Dade’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 1.5% in February to 3.7% in March, up from the year-earlier figure of 2.8%.
- South Florida Tissue Paper in Miami Gardens increased production of toilet paper to address a spike in demand. “Before coronavirus, we were receiving anywhere from three to four truckloads per day in orders,” Vice President Juan Corzo told WSVN. “Right now we’re receiving anywhere from 30 to 40 truckloads.”
- Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian suspended all cruises for at least threee months in mid-March. Plantation-based Virgin Cruises postponed the maiden voyage of its first ship, Scarlet Lady.
- This year’s Ultra Music Festival, a three-day event that annually draws about 165,000 people to Miami’s Bayfront Park, was canceled.
- EMerge Americas, a technology conference scheduled for late-March, was postponed until November.
- Miami-Dade County halted construction inspections and temporarily closed its building permit office after several employees tested positive for coronavirus.
- Brightline suspended train service in South Florida, laying off more than 250 employees.
- BioReference Laboratories partnered with Miami to provide coronavirus testing. The company also began testing specimens from other South Florida sites through a partnership with Larkin Community Hospital.
Read more in Florida Trend's June issue.
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