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Dr. Nichols: Madison City Schools will offer traditional classes and virtual learning options

MADISON – Schools throughout the state will open for traditional classes this Fall, including in Madison. State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey introduced a plan Friday that will help guide school districts in what he says will be the most difficult school year they have faced so far.

Districts closed campuses and moved to virtual learning in March on order of the state. A survey showed about 15% of parents still are not comfortable sending their children back to school, Mackey said.

Madison City Schools superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said although campuses will open for traditional classes, there will be other options available.

“In Madison, we are planning on two avenues of educational services for this fall,” Nichols said. “First, we will provide a school-based education option at each of our school facilities. Next, the district will provide a virtual education option for parents who choose a setting away from the school building for their student.”
Nichols explained the virtual option will provide both a long range plan of education and a hybrid plan that will provide flexibility for students who may need to move from school-based to virtual due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Regardless of the option, all students will remain enrolled in their home school,” he said.

The students who attend classes on campuses will be met with some changes to keep them and the staff safe. “This setting will utilize facial coverings, physical distance practices and sanitation procedures to protect staff and students on each campus,” Nichols said.

This week, Nichols is assembling a Task Force made up of administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students to address the procedures and practices for each of these plans.

“One option we will discuss with the Reentry Task Force is possibly moving our student start date from August 5 to August 12,” Nichols added. “This change would allow additional professional development days for our faculty and staff to fully understand the new state virtual platform and the directives of separation and disinfecting from the ADPH. If we were to delay the start of the school year for students until August 12, it would not affect any of the other parts of the school calendar that have already been approved.”

A survey has been created for people to provide feedback as the school district nears reopening. “Our goal is to communicate our plan as expediently as possible with the new information we are receiving from the state,” Nichols said. “We would appreciate your feedback as we build this plan.”

A link to the surveys can be found on the Madison City Schools website or by clicking here: School Reopening Survey for Families and School Reopening Survey for Faculty and Staff.

“We realize these are very challenging and uncertain times, and we appreciate your understanding as we work together to ensure a safe and successful school year.” Nichols said.

The state has the power to close all schools again if the virus outbreak gets too bad, and a parent guide published by the state said local officials could shut down individual systems or campuses as needed in consultation with health officials.

Click here to download the parents guide.

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