Alabama schools will move to online instruction for the remainder of the school year, Gov. Kay Ivey announced at a press conference with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey.
In a press conference broadcast live on Facebook Thursday afternoon, Ivey announced the school closure as the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to grow in Alabama and the Center for Disease Control continues to advise Americans to avoid crowds.
As of April 6, originally the date for schools to resume in-person instruction, all public K-12 schools will implement a plan to complete the 2019–2020 school year using distance learning, according to a proclamation issued by the governor.
“This decision has not been made lightly,” Ivey said. “It has been made with a tremendous amount of concern and discussion.”
Ivey stressed the need to be serious about the spread of the virus. With schools closing to in-person instruction and the state issuing a stay-at-home-if-possible directive, this is not an invitation to stay at home and invite friends over, Ivey said.
“The public health orders are not suggestions,” Ivey said. “They have been put in place to save your life.”
The state superintendent of education said distance learning will be offered through digital platforms and take-home packets.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
The school year will be extended through June 5 to allow schools to make up for lost learning time and ensure students are able to complete all necessary work. Most schools usually end around May 15, Mackey said.
“We’ve never had to close down this many schools for such a long period of time,” Mackey said.
Most schools had already scheduled their spring breaks during the two and a half weeks schools were closed, from mid-March to April 6, so only about seven days of instruction have been lost.
Schools will work to make up that lost time through distance learning, Mackey said.
With the closure of schools, spring extracurriculars are canceled or postponed. Spring sporting seasons are canceled. Events such as prom and graduations can be postponed but will have to be rescheduled for a date at least after June 5, Mackey said.
“I truly am sorry,” Mackey said. “I know the governor is sorry, and I know Dr. Harris is that students are losing so many of the fun activities of their senior year that they really count on. But we have to do what is the most important and pressing thing, and that’s protecting the health and safety of our community.”
Students who receive accommodations and have them filed with their school will continue to receive those accommodations, Ivey said.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman