In the wake of announcements from school systems around the state that are returning to remote learning for the beginning of the school year, Cullman County's two school systems have joined with other North Alabama school systems to commit to in-person learning when school begins in August.
The systems shared their reasoning behind their decision in a joint press release with Cullman City Schools Superintendent Susan Patterson, Cullman County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette and the superintendents of the Albertville City, Athens City, Colbert County, Cullman City, DeKalb County, Cullman County, Haleyville City, Jackson County, Limestone County, Marshall County and Russellville City school systems.
The Cullman County School System has released its plans for the upcoming school year, and applications for students who want to take the system's virtual option are open for the next week.
"After carefully considering our options and following guidelines from the CDC, Alabama Department of Public Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the State Department of Education, and our governor, we believe the safety and sanitation measures outlined in each of our system’s plans for reopening will provide a safe environment for learning while allowing our students and staff to return to some semblance of normalcy this fall," the statement said.
Cullman City Schools will offer two learning options for students when classes resume Aug. 19.
In making the decision to return to in-person learning, the systems have also considered other factors, such as:
1. Students’ access to healthy meals, which is a great concern for many students who do not receive adequate nutrition at home.
2. Parents who must attend work will not be able to help their child learn from home during the day and are in need of child supervision.
3. Learning gaps that might arise from continued virtual learning.
4. The overall mental health of students who have missed out on interaction with their peers since March.
The Cullman City and Cullman County School Systems have offered signups for a fully virtual option for students who are unsafe or uncomfortable being in the classroom
Both systems have also released their plans for the upcoming school year, which include in-class learning with social distancing measures and recommendations to wear masks when mingling with other students
The city and county systems also have procedures in place to move to a fully remote learning model if COVID-19 continue to worsen in their schools, along with an option for a hybrid model that would include a mix of in-class learning and remote learning to limit exposure among students and faculty members.
"Our goal is to provide the students at each of our schools with the best educational environment possible this school year while also remaining healthy and safe, and we are fully committed to making that happen through the plans we each have in place," the statement said.