Mackey: Patience, engagement needed to succeed this school year

State superintendent discusses differences for the new school year

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The school year has begun for many students across the state. While some school systems have returned to in-person instruction many are using remote learning.

According to Alabama State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey, the issue with remote learning is connecting students to devices and internet. Mackey says the state was able to give out $100 million in grants to supplement what schools had already received from the federal government.

“The real issue is there simply are not enough devices available for all the students who need them across the country,” Mackey said.

Another issue is connecting students and their teachers.

“And again, that goes back to kind of the device issue. If you have the internet connection and you have a device, then they can say, join all of their students on a website,” Mackey said. “But if they don’t have that, and so they’re having to use maybe a telephone to get in touch with a child, then it’s got to be done one at a time. It’s very complicated very hard to do that.”

Mackey said the issues show the importance of working to get students back into the classroom but in the meantime, parents need to be patient and stay engaged.

“They have to be patient, it’s gonna be a difficult school year they need to be patient and need to be engaged in to continue to work with their child on especially in the younger grades reading and math,” Mackey added.

Mackey said despite the challenges he believes students will continue to rise above and beyond.

“I’m not surprised but I’m always amazed by the willingness of our students to rise to the challenge,” Mackey said.

Mackey said he sees students returning to the classroom, but it will take everyone’s willingness to follow social distancing, wear face coverings and have good health and hygiene to drive COVID-19 numbers down.

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