MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore is reacting to the state’s release Friday of a roadmap for reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we started thinking about our process of returning to school for the upcoming school year. MPS’s leadership team is working around the clock to address the specific needs of our system, ensuring that everyone is in a safe environment when we reopen our doors,” Supt. Moore said.
State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey released what the state is calling its “Roadmap to Reopening Alabama Schools” plan in a news conference, saying there will be traditional classrooms and online courses, but that “this will be the most difficult school year that we have ever faced.”
“We’re reviewing the state department’s guidelines, and I hope to have a finalized plan announced in the coming days,” Moore said.
Mackey is encouraging districts to start their academic year later, though he a specific date has not been set at this point. Some school systems have set those start dates including:
- Chilton County Schools - Classes will begin for students on August 6 and employees on August 3. The system will be developing processes and procedures to return to school in the safest way possible for students and employees. The school system and individual schools will be working on plans to return and will have those completed as soon as possible. All students will be given the option of returning to the school buildings or being taught online to not have to return to the schools. Plans and school start dates are subject to change.
- Crenshaw County Schools - Currently, the plan is for students to return to school on August 11 with two options for the school year: Traditional classes or virtual learning.
Autauga County Superintendent Spence Agee says that their district has been working tirelessly to develop a solid plan that includes extra cleaning, sanitation and extra resources for virtual learning.
“We were in contact with the state department and they had been providing some guidance and ideas. We took the state of Georgia roadmap to their back to school, then we took guidance from the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health and we started working on our plan weeks ago. We are probably about 90 percent complete,” said Agee. “We did a survey and we had about 1,200 students that did not have devices at home and we had to provide packets from them. We ordered 1,200 Chromebooks last night, so if we have to go back to virtual learning we will have Chromebooks for them.”
Macon County officials have also spent the last few weeks developing a plan for students’ safe return to school.
“We will have a solid plan really in the next few days, because my staff and I have been working continuously, and after getting the roadmap today, we just went back in and looked at those things that might be non-congruent, that we need to go back and tweak and look at,” said Macon County Superintendent Dr. Jacqueline Brooks. “We’re hoping to roll something out to our parents immediately after the Fourth of July.”
Despite that, some concerned parents say they’re just not ready to send their kids back to the classroom.
“I think that we should have options. Even as an adult, we don’t want to be in a crowded room with people, so why do they think it’s fair for kids to be in a crowded room with people? I have already looked into doing online schooling for my kids for the upcoming year, so, I mean, that’s something that we will be doing either way,” said Chanel Klein.
“Both of my children - they have asthma - so that puts me a little bit more on warning of I don’t want my child to contract this with my youngest son in kindergarten. I’m just - these are five and six-year-olds, there’s no way to separate them at all times,” said Stephanie Little.