Madison County Schools’ parents let safety guide decisions on back to school plan

Parents will have three options to choose from by the end of the month for their kids.

Posted: Jul 13, 2020 10:38 PM
Updated: Jul 22, 2020 11:25 AM

Parents with children in Madison County Schools are now weighing three different back to school options the district introduced to them Monday. 

They are a traditional in-person school, remote learning, and an option to enroll in the Madison County Virtual Academy. This comes as coronavirus cases in Madison County continue to surge. 

The district also announced plans if coronavirus worsens once students are back in class. It now has three different levels of response depending on how risky it is for children to contract coronavirus in the classroom. 

For level 1, students are not required to wear face masks, just recommended. In level 2, face masks are required, and schedules will be adjusted to limit the number of kids inside a building. Level 3 will close down schools, so students will learn remotely.

Parents have to make a decision by July 20 on what program they will enroll their kids in, but district officials said they do not have a set date on when they will make their decision on which level of response the school system will begin with when the school year starts on Aug. 19. 

Terri Waters said she has already made up her mind. She will be sending both her kids back to the classroom. 

"We don't have internet, so I mean the virtual learning was kinda a difficult task," Waters said. "Plus I'm a working mom so it kinda plays a big role as well."

Waters will be enrolling both her daughter and son. However, she understands parents who choose otherwise and thinks it will help keep the risk low.

"Maybe there won't be as many kids going to school," Waters said. "So maybe it'll lower the risk for the ones that do go back to the classroom."

Mother Danielle Wingate is making two different decisions. For her third-grader, she said they are leaning toward enrolling her in the virtual academy.

"Because I don't think elementary school students are very good at not touching their face and proper hygiene and things like that," Wingate said.

For her sixth-grader, she said she plans to allow her to go back to the classroom. Both mothers are having to make this decision without knowing which level of response the district plans to implement.

"If we knew right now it was level one to start, then I would go ahead and stick both of them in school and go from there," Wingate said.

While she said it is frustrating, Wingate understands why the district cannot give them this information just yet.

"Because you know it could be a level one right now and three by the time school starts in a month," Wingate said. "I know they have to have the deadline when they do so they can allocate resources."

District officials said while they cannot say when exactly they will announce which level of response will be in place for the first day of school, parents will have enough time to prepare accordingly when it is announced. 

Parents will be able to move kids out of a program and into another after each grading period, which is 9 weeks. 

You can read the full reopening plan below:

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CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754831494
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Tuscaloosa25396444
Montgomery24037573
Shelby23210242
Baldwin20714302
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Washington165338
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