Shelton reacts to state superintendent’s reopening plan

Published 3:29 pm Thursday, July 2, 2020

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Alabama State School Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said on Friday, June 26 that all Alabama schools will reopen for traditional classes this fall after being shut down halfway through the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While schools will be open for traditional instruction, virtual options will also be available for students and parents who are uncomfortable returning to the classroom.

“This is going to be the most difficult school year we have ever faced,” said Mackey.

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Dallas County Schools Superintendent Hattie Shelton said she agreed with Mackey’s statement, predicting many obstacles as the 2020-2021 school year begins.

“I think there will be steep learning curves for adults and students as they learn to adjust to social distancing and other CDC guidelines for returning safely to school,” said Shelton. “Some of the requirements will create obstacles to implementation of effective learning strategies such as collaborative assignments and small group discussions. In addition, all stakeholders will have to learn to effectively navigate multiple instructional options including traditional and virtual instruction, while ensuring equity in services for all students.”

While some students will return to the classroom and others will opt to receive instruction exclusively or mostly online, Shelton said she was confident that teachers across the Dallas County School System have put in the work to provide quality instruction to students both face-to-face and virtually.

“Our planning team is working diligently to identify obstacles to providing quality instruction and ongoing support for all students regardless of the instructional option chosen,” said Shelton. “Within our planning, we have discussed digital opportunities for our students to participate virtually with their regular classes. as well as the possibility of providing students access to instructional videos from their teachers that students are able access as needed.”

Shelton said that Dallas County Schools have distributed a short survey to gauge how Students and parents feel about returning to campus this August.

“Based on their feedback, the general consensus is parents are leaning heavily toward some form of virtual/remote learning opportunity for their children,” said Shelton. “The Dallas County School System plans to post a new survey to collect a more accurate data set to effectively plan for learning, transportation, and safety.”