During a joint announcement Wednesday, Madison County Schools, Madison City Schools and Huntsville City School districts laid out plans for reopening.
All three districts announced that they would begin the year with nine weeks of virtual only learning.
The Madison County Schools system is now saying that parents should know the new virtual plan is nothing like what students experienced at the end of last year.
“Our students are still going to school, our students are still learning, our students will still take tests and write papers. It’s just for nine weeks we're gonna do it in somewhat of a different style,” Tim Hall, the district’s spokesperson, said.
When classes resume, local teachers will record lessons in their classrooms but follow a state-recommended education plan put together by a group called SchoolsPLP. The state hasn’t released details of exactly what’s included in the curriculum.
Hall said the district understands that this will create hardships for some families.
“We know that, we hate that,” he said. “No one is more concerned about that than our school system and our leadership.”
Since all of the district's nearly 20,000 students will learn from home, Hall said the district retrofitted 90 buses with Wi-FI to be sent across the county. MiFis have also been purchased.
There are enough devices to give one to every student who needs one, according to Hall.
“We’re going to go the extra mile -- if a student is learning online, we’re gonna make sure they have the connectivity they need to be able to do their classwork,” he explained.
The district is currently working on plans for special education and figuring out how to feed those with meal needs.
Hall said a community meeting will be held on Thursday specifically to address feeding kids.
“Our job is to meet student need, whatever it might be, for whichever student it might be meeting. Our job is to meet those needs and that’s what we’re putting on the line is the integrity and the reputation of the Madison County Schools system,” he said.
The district knows there’s still a lot of information to get to parents before class starts August 19. Hall said details about several topics are not currently available since the policies have not been completed, but added they are “in the works.”
Covid numbers will be monitored daily and the superintendent will make a decision about when it is safe to have students return to classrooms.
It is currently unclear what impact this will have on sports. The district is waiting on data from the Alabama High School Athletic Association, according to Hall.