Superintendents give update on first week of school

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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Local schools filled the halls last week for the first time since March of last year and superintendents said they are proud of how the first week went.

“I think we had a good week overall,” Covington County Schools superintendent Shannon Driver said. “We expected some challenges, but I think overall, we had a pretty good week that was pretty close to normal. We felt pretty good about it.”

In Covington County Schools, Driver said there were a couple of students and employees that had to quarantine because of COVID-19.

“We have not seen a huge explosion of it,” Driver said. “Just a few cases here and there and we dealt with it.”

All of the schools in Covington County are doing blended learning, and Driver said virtual schooling has been going well.

“We kicked off virtual learning last week,” Driver said. “Our traditional school is doing well there too. Overall, I think it has been a lot better than what we thought it could be. It is very much a relief that things have gone well and I just hope that we can keep things going. We are hopeful that some of our virtual kids that chose that option are able to come back to traditional school soon, but in the meantime, we are going to do the best that we can with both programs.”

At Andalusia City Schools, superintendent Ted Watson said the first week went about as well as it could.

“There were all types of fun opportunities out there,” Watson said. “With getting computers in the kids’ hands and bracing for the possibility of there being a large amount of absences. I thought that we had a good plan and I think principals worked our plan well.”

Watson said one student and one teacher were tested positive for COVID-19.

“Here’s the deal, the plan is designed so kids can weave in and out of brick and mortar schooling and virtual schooling, so that they can continue to get their education,” Watson said. “Everybody just has to follow the plan. It sounds sort of Nick Sabanish, but just follow the process. Everyone has to be on the same page.”

With alternating schedules, Opp City Schools superintendent Michael Smithart said the first week went well.

“We planned to do alternating schedules the first week all along,” Smithart said. “We just went through the basics of logging on to the platform and making sure that everyone had passwords. This will be the first week that we really get into the content.”

OCS did not have any cases of COVID-19 during the first week.

“We were able to do daily screening tests as they came in,” Smithart said. “We were able to do temperature checks and didn’t experience any problems. I think the kids will adjust. I think they will do a pretty good job of adjusting, probably faster than the adults will.”