UPDATE, 6:15 p.m.: Multiple news outlets are reporting that all Florida schools will close next week at the direction of the state Department of Education.
In response to growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, K-12 schools in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties will be closed until March 30. South Florida schools were already scheduled to close the week of March 23 for spring break, but the spread of COVID-19 has forced administrators to call off classes early.
The three school districts are the first in the state to completely close in response to the pandemic.
Hours before announcing the closure, Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said county schools were "ready for anything," including switching to at-home instruction. Miami-Dade, the largest school district in Florida and among the largest in the nation, made automated calls to parents today to inform them of pick-up sites for digital devices if remote learning became necessary. The school district plans to continue providing breakfast and lunch to needy students, according to Miami Herald reporter Colleen Wright.
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The Herald also reports that Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie has estimated that more than 60 percent of Broward students are eligible for school meals and that various locations will be ready to serve food to eligible students and their family members.
The Archdiocese of Miami says Catholic schools will be closed beginning March 17 to "give parents the opportunity to arrange childcare and personal schedules." The archdiocese will provide more information in the coming days about its remote education processes.