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The Madison Record

Dr. Nichols: Journey Middle School completion may be delayed; MCS sticking with in-person classes

MADISON – Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said Wednesday evening there is a delay in construction of the district’s new middle school, meaning it could not be completed in time for the start of the 2022-23 school year.

“MCS administrators have been monitoring the progress of Journey Middle School since the groundbreaking. In recent communications with the construction management firm and contractors, it was brought to our attention that completion could be delayed due to serious supply chain and labor issues related to COVID,” Nichols said in his weekly update. “Our admin team is working on potential scenarios depending on the length of delay.”

The school board recently approved new school zones for middle and high schools in anticipation for Journey’s opening this fall. Nichols said he will have more information on this issue as district leaders receive more information and plans become available.

Dr. Nichols also said schools throughout the district will not go virtual for the time being. Several schools districts throughout the state and in North Alabama have elected to move back to remote learning in response to increased COVID cases and staff shortages. Several schools in Huntsville City Schools  and Madison County District Schools announced this week they will hold classes virtually.

“Our schools are doing an amazing job of maintaining in-person learning, and several members of our Central Office staff have been subbing in our schools to help prevent a move to virtual learning. Teachers and staff are covering each other’s classes and helping throughout the school to make sure we can continue our in-person classes,” Nichols said.  “I cannot rule out that the impact of COVID could result in a temporary move to a virtual platform. I can assure you that our administrators, teachers and staff are doing everything possible to maintain our in-person platform.”

Nichols said he understands the challenge that changing to a virtual platform places on working families and the difficulty of continuing in-person learning with the COVID issues on the school district’s staff. “Hopefully, we will see a decline in the positivity of our area soon,” he said.

The school district is asking for new substitutes to help with staff shortages. Anyone interested can go to www.madisoncity.k12.al.us/Page/2125 for more information.

Nichols added that even though the district is planning on continuing with the in-person schedule, schools are making sure students have their laptop computers with them at home on a regular basis due to potential weather issues and the possibility that a class or grade level is moved to virtual after the end of a school day. “However, our plan for Thursday and Friday is to maintain our regular schedule,” he said.

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