Career technical schools have very hands on curriculum which poses a problem during a pandemic.
The Allen Thornton Career Technical Center gives students in the Lauderdale County School System hands-on experience in cyber security, electrician, mechanics, cosmotolgy and other fields. All of those careers are very hands-on and so are the courses offered to every high school student in the county.
"There is just no way to learn how to do electrical wiring or any other program we have without them coming and putting their hands on it so we will be as careful as we can," said Gary Dan Williams, the career technical director for Lauderdale County Schools. "In order for us to feel good about them being educated and ready to move on after what they are doing were they are going to have to do a lab portion of the course at some point in time."
Williams said they will be sanitizing the stations in between each group of students. Students choosing virtual options or if the system goes totally virtual will still have to come to the career technical center and do labs at staggered times.
"They will be required to come up here maybe after school on some days maybe where there aren't many other students and we can distance the few we have doing that," said Williams.
Williams said they face a lot of challenges with career tech courses and have about 600 students from all seven high schools at the center throughout the day. He said the state hasn't given them much direction on the matter.
"I think they've been very vague with it to be perfectly honest. I don't know if there are any good answers. I think there are worse answers and better answers. They haven't been specific. Try and keep space as much we can. We're going to encourage students to wear a mask even if that mandate isn't in place. Keep the hand sanitizer close," said Williams.
Only one group of students has lunch there so that cuts down on some interactions between students. Students who are going to Allen Thornton for some classes will start back Aug. 17.