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North Alabama school districts start making plans for the new school year

Multiple districts said they are waiting for additional guidance from the Alabama State Department of Education.

Posted: May 13, 2020 10:49 PM
Updated: May 14, 2020 10:05 AM

As schools work to determine when students can come back to classrooms to learn again, they are working on multiple options to meet a variety of circumstances.

"The things we have to do between now and that time is to develop multiple plans so that we have flexibility," said Dr. Ed Nichols, the newly appointed superintendent of Madison City Schools.

Dr. Ed Nichols speaks at the Madison City School Board Meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, after he was unanimously chosen as the district's next superintendent. Dr. Ed Nichols speaks at the Madison City School Board Meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, after he was unanimously chosen as the district's next superintendent.

After being unanimously approved as the next superintendent, Nichols described the need to have multiple plans in place so they can respond to the virus in the fall.

He said that even though they expect to return students to the classroom for the fall semester, Nichols said virtual learning won't necessarily go away completely.

"We found that we can provide that virtual education and so we're going to look to see how that will be part of what we do in the future," said Nichols.

Nichols takes over for the interim superintendent, Eric Terrell. Following Wednesday's school board meeting, Terrell said based on the advice of Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, older students can start returning to some activities on June 8.

"With some activities with older kids, 13 and older. And then probably looking at July with younger kids, 13 and younger. But that could change. So that's going to go off the lead of what Dr. Mackey has for us," said Terrell.

Other districts, like Hartselle City Schools, are also making plans for reshaping class sizes to meet social distancing best practices.

"We need to come up with a plan of how to return. Do we all return at one time? Do we have an alternate schedule where one grade comes in at a time, where you make your high school campus more like a college campus, where students come in at a certain time for classes?" said Superintendent Dr. Dee Dee Jones.

As far as how much widespread testing should factor into those decisions, Nichols said that will be up to the state to decide.

"This is not something that is isolated to just communities. People are fluid with transportation and so we've got to be looking at that across the state as well as by our community and take the guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health and give us that information," said Nichols.

Jones said Mackey suggested districts with earlier start dates look at pushing back that date to August 20 or later.

The State Board of Education is scheduled to meet on Thursday, May 14. However, plans for the fall semester aren't on the official schedule.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 374493

Reported Deaths: 4602
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby48561673
Davidson43546421
Knox19358150
Rutherford18248163
Hamilton17311153
Williamson1168080
Sumner10123137
Out of TN811056
Wilson777980
Montgomery691585
Sullivan6641101
Washington6272108
Maury610667
Putnam600982
Blount575261
Bradley546935
Madison5445111
Sevier512133
Unassigned488822
Robertson389553
Tipton375339
Hamblen360761
Gibson332065
Dyer325451
Greene324872
Anderson310729
Dickson300434
Coffee288642
Carter286057
Bedford285132
Lawrence276134
Obion271751
McMinn267955
Cumberland266536
Roane243929
Warren243120
Jefferson236533
Loudon234819
Fayette230239
Hardeman227837
Monroe223244
Weakley221737
Franklin217935
Lauderdale208023
Hawkins204034
Wayne194610
Trousdale191512
Henderson190134
Macon186028
White180818
Rhea180132
Hardin180025
Marshall179622
Carroll178534
Lincoln166217
Haywood165830
Cheatham165317
Cocke165330
Campbell160323
Henry159319
Overton156435
Giles150249
Smith147720
Johnson144923
McNairy142433
Fentress124420
Hickman121619
DeKalb120422
Bledsoe11895
Lake11786
Crockett117126
Marion112219
Scott11197
Grainger105017
Chester104221
Decatur96112
Unicoi90226
Claiborne8979
Benton84214
Grundy79214
Cannon7864
Lewis77714
Morgan7626
Humphreys7418
Union7375
Jackson69410
Polk69415
Stewart61015
Houston59220
Clay56018
Sequatchie5465
Meigs51013
Perry49221
Moore4043
Pickett39513
Van Buren3792
Hancock1833

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