With the new school year just under a month away, Boaz City Schools is preparing to continue existing meal programs and add new safety measures and technology to accommodate students learning both in and out of the district’s schools this fall.
Surveys from the district asking families to choose between the traditional and virtual learning options closed this week. Director of Teaching and Learning for Boaz City Schools Ashley Walls says approximately 13% of students are considering going virtual this fall.
Walls says they are currently working to assess the meal needs of virtual students to find out how to best continue meal programs.
“We did kind of a drive-through service through one of our elementary schools that could serve all students - so it’s that Seamless Summer Feeding Program, but we started in the spring and we’ve gone all the way through the summer, so now we’re looking at how can we do that virtually starting in the fall meeting those guidelines,” Walls said.
To help students with internet access, Walls says the district plans to install WiFi on all school buses, however, they may not be ready for the first day of school.
“The one issue we do have is that unfortunately the area of Boaz got hit by a tornado in May, so our buses and where we house them were damaged in the tornado. So, we’re having to get all of our buses fixed and that takes a little bit of time, but as we’re fixing them, we’re outfitting them with the hardware and software for the WiFi hotspots,” Walls said.
For traditional students returning to school, Walls says new safety measures like two forms of temperature checks are some of the added precautions to keep everyone safe.
“All of our teachers will have the handheld, no-touch devices in their classrooms, but we’ve also purchased for all of our schools like thermal imaging when you come in where it’ll automatically connect to a computer where it’ll read quickly everybody coming in the doors at certain entrances their temperature readings,” Walls said.
Walls says along with the no-touch infrared thermometers, schools are purchasing more items like personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer for health and wellness needs and Chromebooks for remote learning needs.
Schools are set to begin Aug. 20.