MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery Public Schools will spend the first nine weeks virtually, according to MPS Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore. A decision will be made at a later date on whether to extend the virtual courses.
The announcement was made during a news conference Wednesday outside the Montgomery County School Board.
Earlier this month, MPS released its plan to reopen giving students two options: traditional face-to-face instruction or virtual instruction. Moore said 18,558 parents responded that they wanted to start virtually.
While the decision to change learning to virtual instruction was made, the start date for the school year has not. Teachers will return to work on Aug. 4 and students will begin learning on Aug. 10.
Robin Wood is one of the parents who wanted the online option, and she believes it’s the smart choice.
“I think it’s a smart plan for it to keep the staff safe and the children and with the the numbers and how they’re moving right now,” Wood said. “I think that it’s the best thing.”
Moore said for the first week, classes will end at noon each day and teachers will spend the afternoons in professional development.
Each individual school will be responsible for setting their students’ learning schedules, Moore confirmed. Students with special needs will continue to receive services and will be contacted by their school with more details.
“Students with IEPS, ILEPS, 504s and other special needs will receive detailed information from their schools, those services will be continued,” she said.
The superintendent stated the school system will monitor COVID-19 cases across Montgomery and will continue to keep parents’ thoughts in mind as it navigates the pandemic.
“Generally speaking, young children are not the kids who have COVID-related symptoms, even though they may be carriers, but the adults in the community really must take all the precautions necessary for the related cases to really go down, and when those go down, we don’t have to worry as much about our students and their exposure,” Moore said.
Teachers, parents, and students will have training to be comfortable with virtual learning and Moore said MPS will provide students with devices, if needed, and will notify parents of pick up times for those devices.
While devices will initially be distributed based on need, Moore said, “we are ordering enough devices so that all students may have one.”
Moore also students who need extra support will get it.
Moore said it was very important that parents complete the online registration on their school’s website before the new academic year begins so the system knows how to contact them.
MPS is among numerous school systems across the River Region and around the state slowly releasing their plans for reopening this fall. Many others are also opting for virtual classes to begin the year.