Madison City Schools teachers will return to classrooms when school starts next month. Students will remain home.
Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said starting the school year out virtually wasn't ideal, but it was the best option for keeping students, teachers and faculty safe.
"We're gonna monitor and try to ease back in as quickly recedes and we're able to do that," Dr. Nichols said.
In the meantime, Dr. Nichols called virtual learning the best and safest way to start the school year. He explained what the district learned last spring and some of the changes you’ll see.
"Creating lessons and videoing lessons and being able to push out other material," he said. "Some of the teachers told me that was probably the biggest frustration they had in the spring was - A. none of us were ready for this platform, and B - they were out of their building and they couldn't get in, and they had resources and things that could've made it a better experience."
He said another change is each class will have a set schedule for releasing lesson plans and materials.
"Establishing time criteria and when teachers will provide information and having a more structured virtual interaction," he said.
Dr. Nichols said the community already stepped up to help distribute meals and laptops to students in need during the virtual learning period.
"We will work through our transportation department and let, we got parents who have already volunteered to help, PTA and teachers, and we got support staff in our schools and we're gonna put a group to work on getting those meals out just like we did this summer, and then rolling out delivering technology and having it picked up," he said.
Dr. Nichols hopes the virtual-only option ends after nine weeks, but he stressed safety is more important.
"I try to look at the glass half full that these measures that are taken will help to get them down quickly and we can try to resume the things that we want to," he said.
Instead of starting out with that staggering schedule start date, all students will come back virtually Aug. 12. Nichols also said if numbers improve, he’d consider doing a partial reopening before nine weeks ends and have students return on a rotational basis.