MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey extended Alabama’s safer at home order Tuesday morning, but she also wants students to return to school this fall.
Ivey said that while she respects districts that are choosing virtual learning to begin the school year, she believes the state does not have the luxury of keeping students out of the classroom.
“I feel with all my heart that a slide will come by keeping our kids at home,” Ivey said. “Especially if there are other options. And that slide is likely to have a dramatic, negative impact on Alabama’s future, our young people.”
Ivey challenged school districts, if the COVID-19 situation in their community or county permitted, to phase back into in-person classroom participation if possible. Part of the extended safer at home order requires students from second grade to college to wear masks whenever practical at school.
“We know that with all responsibilities of being a teacher this can be an added burden to require that a mask be worn,” Ivey said. “But just as we’re focused on creating a safe and healthy environment for our students, it’s also important that we take care of our teachers as well.”
Ivey said many students and their families rely on school for more than just classroom activities.
“School is a safe place where many of our children get the healthiest meal of the day, where they are loved and encouraged as well as taught,” Ivey said.
A number of school districts have decided to start out the school year virtually, including Montgomery Public Schools. MPS released the following statement:
“MPS students will start the first nine weeks virtually on August 10 and the system will continue to monitor COVID-19 in preparation for students returning to school either face to face or virtually for the second nine-week period.
In addition, MPS will work within the Reopening Roadmap guidelines provided by the Alabama Department of Education and adhere to all orders provided by the Governor’s Office.”
Other districts have offered virtual schooling options and have delayed the start of the school year.