Multiple North Alabama districts release statement backing in-person learning option for new school year

The statement was released Thursday evening by several districts in the area.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 5:06 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2020 5:42 PM

The superintendents of Albertville City, Athens City, Colbert County, Cullman City, DeKalb County, Cullman County, Haleyville City, Jackson County, Marshall County and Russellville City issued a statement Thursday evening saying that while they are aware of multiple systems that have announced plans to return to virtual learning only for the start of the upcoming school year, they will stick to their recently released schedules for traditional, in-person learning.

You can find the return to school plans for North Alabama districts here.

The full joint statement is below:

The superintendents of Albertville City, Athens City, Colbert County, Cullman City, DeKalb County, Cullman County, Haleyville City, Jackson County, Marshall County, and Russellville City are aware of multiple systems in the state and surrounding areas that have announced plans to return to complete virtual learning once school resumes this August.

While we respect those decisions that have been made, it is our decision that opening our school systems on our recently released schedules for traditional, in-person learning is the best option for us at this time.

After carefully considering our options and following guidelines from the CDC, Alabama Department of Public Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the State Department of Education, and our governor, we believe the safety and sanitation measures outlined in each of our system’s plans for reopening will provide a safe environment for learning while allowing our students and staff to return to some semblance of normalcy this fall.

We have also considered other factors in this decision, such as:

1. Our students’ access to healthy meals, which is a great concern for many students who do not receive adequate nutrition at home.

2. Parents who must attend work will not be able to help their child learn from home during the day and are in need of child supervision.

3. Learning gaps that might arise from continued virtual learning.

4. The overall mental health of our students who have missed out on interaction with their peers since March.

We further acknowledge that should it become necessary to move to a blended form of learning or an all-virtual form of learning due to a rise in COVID-19 positive cases in our schools, our community, or due to an emergency declaration at the state level, we will make those decisions accordingly.

Our schools are also offering virtual education options to any student whose parents/guardians are not comfortable with traditional, in-person learning at this time.

Our goal is to provide the students at each of our schools with the best educational environment possible this school year while also remaining healthy and safe, and we are fully committed to making that happen through the plans we each have in place.

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