Huntsville, Madison schools begin school year on virtual learning plan

Huntsville, Madison schools begin school year on virtual learning plan
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle at Wednesday's area school announcement. (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Huntsville City Schools, Madison City Schools and Madison County schools will begin the 2020 school year on a virtual learning plan.

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, a group of school administrators from Huntsville and Madison made the announcement at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber within the auditorium to allow for social distancing.

See the full press briefing below:

Huntsville and Madison school administrators discuss reopening plans

The following people participated:

  • Christie Finley, Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools
  • Dr. Ed Nichols, Superintendent of Madison City Schools
  • Allen Perkins, Superintendent of Madison County Schools
  • Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville
  • Mayor Paul Finley, City of Madison
  • Elizabeth Fleming, Executive Director, The Schools Foundation
  • Kevin Byrnes, 2020 Board Chair, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber Board of Directors
  • Lucia Cape, Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Industry Relations & Workforce, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber
  • Dr. Oscar Montgomery, Senior Pastor, Union Hill Primitive Baptist Church

MADISON CITY SCHOOLS:

View the reopening plan video released by Madison City School Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols on Wednesday.

MADISON COUNTY SCHOOLS:

Tim Hall of Madison County Schools released the following statement from Superintendent Allen Perkins on Wednesday.

As you are aware, the number of COVID-19 cases in Madison County continues to increase. Alabama had 39 confirmed cases when the statewide school closure order was announced in mid March by Gov. Kay Ivey. Madison County had one confirmed case at that time.

Today, there are more than 65,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide, including more than 3,500 in Madison County. Officials hope mask requirements and social distance pushes will slow the alarmingly high gains in COVID-19 cases.

With that said, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. Therefore, we will start school August 19th at Level 3 - Substantial Spread, based on our reopening plan for the first 9 week grading period.

In addition, employees should plan to return to work as scheduled.

Thank you for all that you do to support the development of our students.

- Allen Perkins, Superintendent of Madison City Schools

HUNTSVILLE CITY SCHOOLS:

Huntsville City Schools (HCS) announced plans today to begin the new school year remotely. All students will engage in remote learning during the first nine weeks in order to mitigate risk due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

“The health and safety of students, families and staff members is paramount,” Superintendent Christie Finley said. “This was not an easy decision, and this was not something we took lightly. We join our nearby school districts and school districts across the country in working to mitigate risk by beginning the school year remotely.”

District leaders will reassess health conditions during the first nine weeks to determine a learning framework for the remainder of the semester. If health conditions improve, the district may consider transitioning to a staggered schedule.

Families enrolled in Huntsville Virtual Academy (HVA) can continue participating in HVA and not be impacted by the transition to remote learning. The deadline to enroll in HVA will remain Friday, July 24, 2020, at 4 p.m. Families may begin the enrollment process by visiting huntsvillecityschools.org/hva.

Also, to provide families maximum flexibility, families who previously enrolled in HVA may unenroll if they do so by Friday, July 24, 2020.

HCS is working to eliminate barriers by providing families with curbside Wi-Fi at all school sites and working with internet providers to assist families with low-cost internet options. Additionally, HCS will implement curbside meal service locations at select sites across the community.

The district will be providing families and staff members with more information related to the beginning of the school year.

The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. View the district’s Reset Plan by visiting huntsvillecityschools.org/reset.

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