Sept. 25 is the deadline for Shelby County schools students who have begun the school year to decide whether they want to return for the next nine weeks or continue learning remotely.
Starting on Monday, Sept. 14, the students who chose the traditional model of learning transitioned from two days a week of in-person instruction to five days a week as part of the “Back Together” phase of the Shelby County Schools reopening plan.
“Traditional in-person students may transition to remote learning if you have concerns about returning to school five days a week,” said Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks in a letter to parents. “Students who are currently remote students must continue in that platform but will be able to transition to in-person instruction starting October 12, 2020. Please reach out to your local school principal if you are a remote learner and plan to return to traditional in-person instruction at the end of the grading period on or before September 25, 2020.”
Some parents have expressed concern that they have to make a decision so early.
Shelby County Schools spokesperson Cindy Warner told APR that this decision is for the next nine weeks.
Students in traditional at-school learning can switch to online learning at any time — just like a student who tests positive for the coronavirus.
But parents are being asked to make the decision if they are going to stay online or not because the system doesn’t want students going back and forth between online classes and traditional at-school classes.
Warner said that 25 percent of students are currently in online instruction but from what they have heard from parents, they expect that many of those students will return.
Warner said that if a parent elects for their children to remain in online learning, they will be given the option of going to traditional in-person learning after this nine-week grading period ends.
Warner said that they did not know how many Shelby County students have tested positive for the coronavirus because the state is going to soon be reporting that data on their dashboard.
A parent at Oak Mountain High School shared an email with APR in which the school announced that that high school alone had 20 students who have tested positive and are in isolation, plus 68 students who are in quarantine because they have been exposed to the coronavirus.
Shelby County has the fifth-highest number of coronavirus cases with 5,116 cases including 299 in the past week. Some 41 Shelby County residents have died from COVID-19 — 14th highest in the state.
At least 2,507 Alabamians have died of COVID-19, four of them children age 0 to 17.
“If your child is exhibiting symptoms, please keep him/her home. If your child has tested positive, please contact the school nurse,” Oak Mountain High School wrote to parents.