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Student won’t return to classroom, but learning will continue at home

Alabama students won’t return to the classroom this school year, but they should prepare to finish their school year at home, Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday.

“We must be serious about eliminating the virus,” Ivey said in a press conference.

Ivey said that beginning April 6, Alabama public K-12 schools must implement a plan to complete the 2019-2020 school year using alternate methods of instruction as established by the state superintendent of education. Local school districts should make staffing decisions and determinations related to access to school buildings in accordance with all applicable public health orders and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

State leaders have left how to handle the learning up to local superintendents.

Local superintendents say they have been planning for this possibility but will work with teachers and administrators beginning tomorrow and early next week to formulate the best possible options.

Covington County Schools Superintendent Shannon Driver said they will likely have some sort of blended type learning.

“We will be getting some specific advice in the morning,” he said. “We have a webinar with Dr. Eric Mackey in the morning.”

Next week, Driver said that some 12-month employees will work.

“We are going to try told a good bit of work formulating our plan the first two days of next week,” he said. “Our plan should be ready by the middle of next week, then we will begin to communicate with our parents.”

Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson said that they have been coming up with ideas throughout the break.

“Our teachers — especially a the elementary school — have been creative in getting their information to their kids,” he said. “We are lucky in that we have the ability to do this with our 1-to-1 initiative. Packets are also still a possibility.”

Watson said a survey conducted about access to internet said there was a small number of students who did not have it.

“We’ve never done this before,” he said. “But after this, I think we will have a definite IT plan for reaching students via the internet.”

ACS administrators will meet Friday morning for the state webinar and figure out what the condensed standards are and how they can meet those expectations.

“We will start meeting with my teachers on Monday to develop a for when education begins again,” he said. “We hope to have our plan fleshed out by the middle of next week. We will concentrate on getting our seniors through Access learning through their classes they need to help them move on.”

Opp City Schools Superintendnet Micahel Smithart said the news was not a shocker.

“Now the work begins,” he said. “We have an online learning platform we are happy with. Now, we are working to identify accessibility.”

Smithart said they have a survey out find out.

They will also have a plan in place by the middle of next week.