Alabama schools given the green light for on-campus summer school programs in June

Krista Johnson, May 21, 2020 |  Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a coronavirus press conference at the Alabama State Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Gov. Kay Ivey holds press conference for Coronavirus update

Alabama students in grades 7-12 can go back into the classroom for summer school programs, starting June 1, following the governor’s latest move toward lessened restrictions related to containing the spread of COVID-19,

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Thursday amendments to her safer at home order, which allow for the re-opening of entertainment venues, daycare facilities and schools.

Additionally, youth and adult sports practices can resume Saturday and competitions can begin on June 15, although the Alabama High School Athletic Association announced last week it cancelled all summer competition. 

More: AHSAA cancels summer competition; preseason workouts left up to ‘local school’ jurisdiction

It will be up to districts to decide whether or not to offer in-person programming, both educationally and athletically. 

Dozens have expressed interest in doing so, state superintendent Eric Mackey said.State Superintendent Eric Mackey speaks during a Covid-19 press conference at ADPH office in Montgomery, Ala., on Friday, March 13, 2020. Buy Photo

State Superintendent Eric Mackey speaks during a Covid-19 press conference at ADPH office in Montgomery, Ala., on Friday, March 13, 2020.  (Photo: Jake Crandall/ Advertiser)

The reason for limiting the re-opening to older students, he said, is because they are better able to self-discipline and social distance. Districts can re-open to younger students July 6. 

The department provided the following recommendations if schools choose to have on-campus programs: 

  • Implement social distancing strategies to maintain six feet between people 
  • Change parent drop-off and pick-up lines to limit contact and building access 
  • Monitor symptoms of students and staff 
  • Establish hand hygiene stations at school entrances 
  • Intensify cleaning and disinfecting efforts 

Local school boards will be responsible for ensuring students and staff follow the recommendations. 

Montgomery Public School Superintendent Ann Roy Moore said that while the district does not normally offer summer school for promotional reasons to many students, enrichment programs are provided to between 3,000 and 4,000 students each summer. 

More: Gov. Kay Ivey loosens coronavirus restrictions on theaters, athletic events, child care

“As a superintendent, I would like to continue some kind of enrichment or some way for students to continue learning because I’m feeling we’re going to have some gaps anyway because of what we had to do,” Montgomery Public School Superintendent Ann Roy Moore said, referring to the early end of classroom instruction. 

But, she said, these programs will not be offered in-person at schools.

“We’re still going to be very cautious. … Even though these guidelines are not as restrictive, we still have the same problem that we did originally with the virus. There’s no antidote, no cure, so the problem is still there. Even though things have lightened up, I still don’t want to put anyone at risk.”Get the Daily Briefing newsletter in your inbox.

Start your day with the morning’s top newsDelivery: DailyYour Email

Coronavirus cases in Montgomery County have more than doubled since the beginning of May, landing the capital city in the internal White House report, reported by NBC News, as a “location to watch.”

Despite this, Mackey said the community is in a stronger position to deal with the virus than when schools were closed. 

“We are certainly in a better position now to understand what we need to do sanitize, to maintain social distancing, to do other precautionary things like wearing facial coverings,” he said. “However, it is extremely important that students and teachers and coaches and other staff members practice the social distancing requirements.”

All Alabama superintendents are scheduled to have a webinar with Mackey on Friday to discuss summer school plans. Districts are expected to submit their plan to the state department by June 1.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s