Huntsville, Madison City Schools discuss first full week of virtual school

This was the first full week for both of the districts, and each admitted there were some hiccups.

Posted: Aug 21, 2020 7:18 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2021 3:50 PM

WAAY 31 asked both Huntsville and Madison City schools how the first full week of online only learning went.

Both districts said everything is going pretty well as they've started back. They each admitted a few technology hiccup did happen, but said those were expected.

Huntsville City Schools Spokesperson Craig Williams said the district is still navigating requests, but the year started out well.

"It's the first time we have ever opened school in a virtual way, and of course, while there are some kinks we are working out and working to enhance, overall it's been a very positive and productive week," he said.

"I'm not going to tell you we haven't had hiccups. There have been issues. I think our tech staff has done a great job in trying to manage those," said Dr. Ed Nichols, Madison City Schools Superintendent.

Both districts explained administrators spent months preparing for the start of school, and are making adjustments to teachers' requests.

"One thing we have heard from teachers is they missed using the Zoom that we used a lot at the end of last school year. It's one thing we as administrators have used throughout the summer. One piece of feedback we have heard from teachers is we'd like to return to zoom if at all possible, and that's one thing we are looking to do at Huntsville City Schools," Williams explained.

He also said the district learned more information about a nationwide outage from Schoology, the learning management system the district adopted.

"A data engineer had some files in the long location, and so for our particular district and I'm sure many districts across America, it was essentially not processing that data correctly, and then once they figured that out, it was a quick fix to get that resolved," he added.

Nichols said his technology team launched a help ticket for families to use to address any issues, and they're trying to work through them.

"To fix these issues that we have with mainly computers and WiFi and that type of thing to get these up to date," he said.

Nichols explained right now they're working on plans to get some of the remote students back inside the schools.

"We're meeting and have been this week to look at phasing in school-based learning," he said.

Madison City Schools said it hopes to release more information next week on when and how students could return to the classroom. Huntsville city schools told me it's still evaluating if it can get students back into the classroom before the end of the first nine weeks.

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