By SHERRY DIGMON
Last Friday, July 10, Escambia County Superintendent of Education John Knott, with the approval of the Board of Education, released the Back to School 2020-2021 Plan for Reopening Overview. The document is 11 pages long and it is what it says – an overview. Detailed – and lengthier – documents are provided to school principals for guidance and implementation.
The plan was presented to the board and approved at a special meeting Wednesday, July 15.
“Traditional education as we know it will look very different in numerous unprecedented ways this coming year …” Knott wrote in a statement at the beginning of the plan. “This will be a living plan that will continually evolve based on the directives and guidance provided by the ALSDE [Alabama State Department of Education], ADPH [Alabama Department of Public Health], current threat levels, and other factors. The health and safety of students and staff is the top priority when making the decision to physically reopen school campuses for use by students, staff, and others.”
An online registration form is available this week. Parents and students will need to decide and select the instructional option that will be best for their particular needs.
Students may attend traditional school (brick and mortar) or utilize virtual school (online) this year.
- Traditional school – In-school or temporary remote
Traditional – Teaching and learning will take place utilizing traditional methods. Supplemental curriculum resources and online learning methods will be practiced.
Temporary remote learning – In case of a more restricted health order, temporary school closure, or student contagion, students will complete classwork from a remote location, participate in virtual class meetings, and submit work digitally.
- Virtual online learning: Online learning / self-paced, off campus, online curriculum – Virtual school students must commit to at least a nine-week grading period and must be able to provide their own reliable internet access.
Curriculum: Schools PLP Personalized Learning Plan, and supplemental curriculum resources. Teachers will regularly check with students using a variety of technology tools. ECS teachers and technology department will assist students with technology needs.
Schedule for reopening schools
Traditional – Currently Escambia County schools plans to open schools in a staggered manner to help students and staff have time to review new procedures and learning requirements.
- August 7 – students with last names beginning with A-G will report to school
- August 10 – students with last names beginning with H-M
- August 11 – students with last names beginning with N-Z.
- August 12 – all students will return to school for regularly scheduled classes.
Virtual online learning – Virtual students who live in the Atmore area will participate in a virtual school orientation and final registration August 7. Virtual students who live in the Flomaton / McCall area will participate in a Virtual School orientation and final registration August 10. Virtual students who live in the East Brewton will participate in a Virtual School orientation and final registration August 11. All virtual students will begin classes August 17.
Guidelines for traditional school attendance
- Students attend classes at school five days a week.
- Curriculum will include high quality instruction, intervention, and assessment for all grade levels. Instruction may be delivered through multiple formats (face to face, Google Meet, Zoom, prerecorded lessons, etc.)
- Extra cleaning and sanitizing schedules will be implemented in all school areas and restrooms.
- Frequent hand washing will be built into the students’ daily schedule.
- Masks are encouraged. Employees and students will be expected to wear face coverings when social distancing guidelines cannot be maintained and the school will comply with orders issued by the Alabama Health Department.
- Social distancing will be implemented much as possible.
- Students are encouraged to bring water bottles from home labeled with their name.
- A rotation of cafeteria, classroom and outside areas will be used to increase social distancing.
- Bus transportation will be provided.
- Parents should check their child for symptoms of illness before sending them to school. If students exhibit signs of fever, congestion, shortness of breath, or gastrointestinal symptoms, students should stay home from school.
- Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms at school will be placed in a clinic quarantine until a parent or guardian arrives.
- Students who test positive for COVID-19 will require a physician’s release before returning to school.
- COVID-19 symptoms are excused as per guidelines.
- These options may change temporarily according to health orders.
See next week’s Atmore News, July 29, for a more in-depth look at our schools in our annual Back to School special section.