2022-2023 guide to back to school in Miami and Broward

Are you ready for your child’s first day of school?

Public school starts Aug. 16 in Broward and Aug. 17 in Miami-Dade.

Here’s what parents and students should know:

Will breakfast and lunch be free?

Breakfast is free for all students in Miami-Dade and Broward public schools. Miami-Dade’s public school district is also giving free lunch to all students again this year.

The district said it will rely on funding this year from a federal program called Community Eligibility Provision, which reimburses schools and school districts for meals in low-income areas. Last year, South Florida school districts relied on a now-expired USDA waiver to provide free lunch to students.

In Broward, some students, but not all, will get free lunch.

Broward’s public school district said it can provide free lunch to students at 167 schools through the funding it will get from the Community Eligibility Provision program. Broward Schools said it’s notifying eligible families about the free lunch and that they will not have to fill out a meal application.

To qualify for the program, schools need to have at least 40% of their student body eligible for other federal assistance, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the school district said.

For students who attend a Broward school that didn’t qualify for the federal program, lunch will be based on their meal eligibility (free, reduced, paid), just like before the pandemic, the district said. Families can complete a meal application at https://www.myschoolapps.com

To see the menu for Miami-Dade Schools, visit dadeschools.nutrislice.com/menus-eula. If your child has special dietary needs, contact the school for information on how to submit the necessary forms. To see the menu for Broward Schools and for information on how to make a special diet request, visit browardschools.com/menus.

Know your child’s bus route

If your child takes the bus to school, you’ll need to double-check their bus assignment, and if you’re in Broward, you’ll have to register them for the bus, too. Remember, buses may run late during the first few weeks of schools.

Here’s what else to know:

Miami-Dade County Public Schools mails a post card with the child’s bus assignment information to eligible families at the beginning of the school year, according to the district.

Parents can also find their child’s bus assignment online in the Parent Portal. On the top of the portal screen, click “Bus Info.” Parents should check this periodically to have the most up-to-date information. Parents who can’t access the portal or have more questions should call their child’s school.

In Browardparents who want their child to take the bus need to register online at https://tfsweb.browardschools.com/ride. Once your child is registered, contact your child’s school for an effective bus assignment date.

Keep in mind that if you’re registering for the bus now, your child might not have a bus until the second week of school, according to Broward County Public Schools. The school district can only guarantee a bus for the first day of school to students who were registered for the bus by July 15, according to the school district.

For parents who already registered their child for the bus, expect to receive a “robo” notifying you to check your “Virtual Counselor” account for bus stop information, including the bus route number, bus stop assignment location and the pickup and drop off times for the bus stop, according to Broward County Public Schools.

Are there COVID rules this year in Miami-Dade and Broward public schools?

Both school districts say parents should self-screen their children for flu or COVID-like symptoms, like fever, before sending them to school. Kids who are sick should stay home. The school districts say they will continue deep-cleaning and are encouraging frequent hand-washing. Masks are optional.

Broward says all of its schools will continue to have two nurses and voluntary COVID-19 testing (subject to parental consent) available.

What about quarantine?

Under state rules, kids who test positive for COVID and are asymptomatic can go to school.

Miami-Dade’s school district says it also still plans to notify parents if their child was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID, but it will be up to the parents to decide if they should quarantine. In Broward, students can expect the same quarantine procedure as last year, the school district said. To learn more about Broward’s COVID rules, visit browardschools.com/coronavirus.

What does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend?

The CDC is no longer recommending people quarantine after COVID exposure in schools. The federal public health agency recommends people exposed to COVID wear masks for 10 days and get tested on Day 5. The CDC is also still recommending people who test positive for COVID isolate for at least five days.

Make sure your child’s immunization records are updated

Vaccines protecting against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and other diseases are required for all public and private schoolchildren attending childcare and K-12 school in the state, according to the Florida Department of Health. And yes, this includes students who plan to study online.

What’s not required to attend school: the COVID-19 vaccine.

A list of necessary school vaccinesincluding for kids attending daycare and pre-school, can be found on the Department of Health’s website.

Register for online school

All Florida public school districts offer a fully-online learning alternative. If you rather have your child learn virtually, you better hurry. The deadline to register for online learning is coming up.

For Miami-Dade K-12 students, enrollment for Miami-Dade Virtual School ends 10 school days after the semester begins on Aug. 17. Enrollment for the school district’s other online option has ended.

For Broward students, the online K-12 option is called Broward Virtual School. Enrollment for grades K-5 ended July 15. Enrollment for grades 6-12 ends Aug. 31.

Both Miami-Dade Virtual School and Broward Virtual School are free and are franchises of Florida Virtual School, the state’s online K-12 school that offers full-time and part-time learning.

Find your child’s assigned school

If you recently moved or want to make sure that your child’s assigned school hasn’t changed, both Miami-Dade and Broward public school districts have online locators you can use. Make sure you use the child’s primary residential address.

For Miami-Dade’s school locator, search results can be filtered by grade level (example: Do you just want an elementary? A K-8? A high school?) and by drive time. You can also filter schools by attendance options, including if the school is assigned, a magnet school or a choice school.

For Broward’s school locator, select what grade your child is in and type in their primary home address. Your child’s assigned school will appear. If you click it, you’ll get a variety of details including demographic enrollment data and the name of the school’s principal.

Calendars, grades, apps

Miami-Dade and Broward have online 2022-2023 school year calendars and online testing calendars.

Miami-Dade and Broward Schools have online parent portals. They let you see your child’s grade, bus assignment and other important information.

Miami-Dade Schools has a smartphone app, Dadeschools Mobile, which provides information about your child’s school such as grades, bus routes, school news and the lunch menu. It also has a link to FortifyFL, a suspicious activity reporting tool that allows people to instantly relay information to law enforcement and school officials. Broward Schools has a similar app. Find it by typing BCPS Mobile App or Broward County Public Schools. Emergencies should be reported to 911 first.

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This story was originally published August 15, 2022 4:30 AM.

Profile Image of Michelle Marchante

There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and Michelle covers it as a Real Time/Breaking News Reporter for the Miami Herald. She graduated with honors from Florida International University, where she served as the editor-in-chief of Student Media PantherNOW. Previously, she worked as a news writer at WSVN Channel 7 and was a 2020-2021 Poynter-Koch Media & Journalism fellow.