A roadmap to reopening schools in northwest Alabama

A roadmap to reopening schools in northwest Alabama

FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - Superintendents around the Shoals are still evaluating, releasing, and even changing back-to-school plans.

Franklin County Superintendent Greg Hamilton says the pandemic has had a profound impact on his job as an educator.

“Four or five days before I took office we had a school hit with a tornado, but nothing like living with COVID-19,” said Hamilton.

The complex task of constant change gearing up for the 2020-21 school year.

Franklin County schools announced plans to reopen last night

“We’ll have a traditional setting as normal. We’ll also have a remote learning plan,” said Hamilton.

Colbert County Schools will also offer traditional and virtual options for students. However, the school system is pushing its start date back to Aug. 24.

“Our biggest reason for changing our minds is number one to get more professional development in for our teachers. We didn’t want to rush them and send them into a panic mode so we wanted to give them enough time so they felt comfortable with the different platforms we have to use and also for safety to make sure we have all of our safety precautions in place prior to students coming in,” said Superintendent Gale D. Satchel.

Over 2500 students have chosen the virtual option at Russellville City Schools, however, superintendent Health Grimes says they still plan to open traditionally.

“I think it may be more important for us to be back in school and some normalcy for mental health of our students to be back in school in a traditional setting and we’re going to strive with all that we have to do that,” said Grimes.

I also spoke with Muscle Shoals Superintendent Chad Holden who told me quote:

“All superintendents are rethinking their reopening plans daily because health guidance keeps changing as we learn more about the virus, and community spread is always on our minds. We are monitoring our local healthcare system’s capacities to deal with growing cases,” said Holden.

Sheffield City Schools Superintendent Keith Davis says they are reevaluating their school opening plans and are hopeful to have a decision next week.

“The numbers are increasing and not going down. So we want to get a better idea of what health officials think about that and based on that we’ll make a decision,” said Davis.

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