Superintendent Robert W. Runcie's statement to the community

Watch video from Superintendent Robert W. Runcie's statement to the community

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Superintendent Robert W. Runcie announced today, District school campuses will remain closed through Friday, May 1, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Watch the Superintendent’s statement to the community, during the Tuesday, March 31, Emergency School Board Meeting.

Watch video from Superintendent Robert W. Runcie’s statement to the community.

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Today in History – March 31

On March 31, 1917, the U.S. took formal possession of the Danish West Indies. Renamed the Virgin Islands, this chain consists of St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John and about fifty other small islands, most of which are uninhabited. Lying about sixty-five kilometers east of Puerto Rico at the end of the Greater Antilles, the U.S. purchased the islands from Denmark for $25 million because of their strategic location in relation to the Panama Canal.

One of the Steep Streets on the Hillsides, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Jack Delano, photographer, Dec. 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division
Cultivating Sugar Cane of Virgin Islands Company Land, vicinity of Bethlehem, St. Croix. Jack Delano, photographer, Dec. 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division
The Virgin Islands, Sugar Cane Country.. Jack Delano, photographer, Dec. 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

The Virgin Islands are known for their delightful tropical climate and a growing season that never ends.

Many different groups have claimed ownership of these islands. When Christopher Columbus landed on St. Croix in 1493 the islands were occupied by the native Carib Indians. By the time that Europeans began to settle there in the 1600s, most of the native population had died from diseases introduced by early explorers.

In the Old Fort Built by the French, Frederiksted, Saint Croix, Virgin Islands. Jack Delano, photographer, Dec. 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

The islands went back and forth between Spanish and French rule. Danish settlers arrived and began growing sugar cane using convicted criminals and, after 1678, African slaves for labor. Over time, St. Thomas became a major Caribbean slave market.

After the French sold the islands to Denmark in 1733, the Danish military took up residence on St. Croix and, using the captured leaders of a local black slave revolt, began work on a fortification. Later they built a permanent masonry fort and named it Fort Christiansvaern (“Christian’s Defense”) in honor of King Christian VI of Denmark-Norway.

Denmark kept a policy of strict neutrality in foreign affairs during the years of the American Revolution. However, special interests in both Denmark and in the West Indies often circumvented that policy. According to a 1988 report by the Department of the Interior:

One such case involved the smuggling of arms and supplies to the “patriot” side during the American Revolution. This action led to an exchange of salutes — a traditional courtesy — between a merchantman flying the Grand Union flag and Fort Frederik at the west end of St. Croix. This action, albeit unofficial, constituted the first acknowledgment of the American flag from foreign soil.

From Fort Christiansvaern, by Jerome A. Greene and William G. Cissel. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1988. p4.

Children at the Peter’s Rest Elementary School near Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Jack Delano, photographer, Dec. 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White negatives.Prints & Photographs Division
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. F.E. Cook, c1922. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

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Update on Academics during Coronavirus Closure

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) will continue to provide regular updates on operational, academic and other issues of concern related to the closing of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. This document is specific to the impact on student academics and has questions grouped by topic.

View the Update on Academics during Coronavirus Closure 

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Food and Nutrition Services for Students and Families March 30-April 15

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) will continue to support students and their families through the coronavirus crisis by offering its grab-and-go meal service to 23 elementary schools, nine middle schools and 15 high schools throughout Broward County.

View the information update for Food and Nutrition Services for Students and Families March 30-April 15

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Update on Academics during Coronavirus Closure – Revised March 18, 2020

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) will continue to provide regular updates on operational, academic and other issues of concern related to the closing of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. This document is specific to the impact on student academics.

View the Information Update for Academics during Coronavirus Closure

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Cancellation of School Board of Broward County board meeting scheduled for March 18, 2020

Pursuant to Governor Ron DeSantis’ direction to postpone all school board meetings until June 30, 2020, the School Board of Broward County, Florida is canceling its Regular School Board Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 2020 and all future Regular School Board Meetings until that date.

A future school board meeting will be scheduled under the decree of an emergency as identified by Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Runcie in order to address critical issues.

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Spring Break Camps Canceled

Beginning Monday, March 23, all student camps scheduled to take place on school campuses during Spring Break are canceled. The decision is based on recent guidance from The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people to slow the spread of the virus. Once again, all student camps are canceled for the week of March 23-27.   

We appreciate the ongoing support of all of our families to this ever-changing public health threat and the challenges it presents.

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World Wide Web (WWW) launches in the public domain

Year
1993
Month Day
April 30

On April 30, 1993, four years after publishing a proposal for “an idea of linked information systems,” computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee released the source code for the world’s first web browser and editor. Originally called Mesh, the browser that he dubbed WorldWideWeb became the first royalty-free, easy-to-use means of browsing the emerging information network that developed into the internet as we know it today.

READ MORE: The Invention of the Internet

Berners-Lee was a fellow at CERN, the research organization headquartered in Switzerland. Other research institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University had developed complex systems for internally sharing information, and Berners-Lee sought a means of connecting CERN’s system to others. He outlined a plan for such a network in 1989 and developed it over the following years. The computer he used, a NeXT desktop, became the world’s first internet server. Berners-Lee wrote and published the first web page, a simplistic outline of the WorldWideWeb project, in 1991.

CERN began sharing access with other institutions, and soon opened it up to the general public. In releasing the source code for the project to the public domain two years later, Berners-Lee essentially opened up access to the project to anyone in the world, making it free and (relatively) easy to explore the nascent internet.

Simple Web browsers like Mosaic appeared a short time later, and before long the Web had become by far the most popular system of its kind. Within a matter of years, Berners-Lee’s invention had revolutionized information-sharing and, in doing so, had dramatically altered the way that human beings communicated. The creation and globalization of the web is widely considered one of the most transformational events in human history. 4.39 billion people, including you, are now estimated to use the internet, accounting for over half the global population. The average American now spends 24 hours a week online. The internet’s rise has been the greatest expansion in information access in human history, has led to the exponential growth in the total amount of data in the world, and has facilitated a spread of knowledge, ideas and social movements that was unthinkable as recently as the 1990s.

READ MORE: The World’s First Web Site 

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18-year-old Ryan White, national symbol of the AIDS crisis, dies

Year
1990
Month Day
April 08

On April 8, 1990, 18-year-old Ryan White dies of pneumonia, due to having contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. He had been given six months to live in December of 1984 but defied expectations and lived for five more years, during which time his story helped educate the public and dispel widespread misconceptions about HIV/AIDS.

White suffered from hemophilia and thus required weekly blood transfusions. On December 17, 1984, just after his 13th birthday, he was diagnosed with AIDS, which he had contracted from one such transfusion. It was later revealed that roughly 90 percent of American hemophiliacs who had received similar treatments between 1979 and 1984 suffered the same fate. White was given six months to live, but recovered from the illness that had brought his disease to light and eventually felt healthy enough to return to school.

Though the scientific community knew that AIDS could only be transmitted through bodily fluids, the community around White’s Russiaville, Indiana school was paranoid that he would contaminate his classmates. White was denied entry to his school, and when the Indiana Department of Education ruled that he must be admitted the local school board unanimously voted to appeal the decision. From August of 1985 until the following June, White’s family and their opponents—who at one point held a fundraiser in the school gymnasium to support the cause of keeping him out—fought a legal battle that garnered national headlines. A diverse array of public figures appeared with White and spoke on his behalf, including Elton John, Michael Jackson, Alyssa Milano, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former President Ronald Reagan.

White was eventually allowed to return to school and spent his remaining years living a relatively normal life, although he made regular media appearances in an effort to educate the public about his illness. By the time of his death, just months before he was to graduate high school, White had become one of the leading figures in the movement to destigmatize HIV/AIDS. Several months later, the Ryan White CARE Act became federal law, providing a dramatic boost in funding for the treatment of low-income and un-insured people with HIV/AIDS.

READ MORE: The History of AIDS

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