CATA Auto Service Technology

Cullman County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette and CATA Auto Service Technology student J.P. Johnson take a look under the hood of the school’s new Mercedes-Benz C300 in this Sept. 8, 2020 photo,

The Cullman County School System will soon be moving to a five-day schedule for elementary and middle schools and a four-day schedule with an optional fifth day for the county's high schools. 

Beginning on April 12, students in grades K-8 will return to the traditional five-day school schedule while grades 9-12 will remain on their current four-day schedule but have the option to come to school on Wednesdays, said Cullman County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette. 

"If they need to come on Wednesdays to get connectivity, to get a warm meal, they can ride the bus and attend school and be in their classes," he said. "But if they want to stay at home and work virtually on Wednesdays, they can do that."

Afternoon tutors, which the CARES act will now fund, will take over the monitoring of virtual students each Wednesday in grades K-8. Teachers will still be able to view virtual student progress, but will not be required to work with virtual students on Wednesdays when traditional students return.

Because there is still a high number of high school students who are attending school virtually, those who opt to come to school on Wednesdays will primarily be focusing on pre-assigned work so teachers can work with virtual students. 

With Gov. Kay Ivey's mask mandate ending on April 9, the switch to a new schedule will also come with a revisal of the system's rule requiring masks.

Once the order ends, masks will be optional among all of the students and staff members in the county's schools, Barnette said. 

"We're not going to require anyone to wear a mask after April 9th, but if they're more comfortable doing that, we'll make sure they're fine doing that," he said. 

The system is also encouraging any students who are in virtual school to come back to the classroom for the end of the school year, Barnette said. 

Any student wanting to return by April 12 should have the proper paperwork completed from their school by April 9. 

"I'm really excited about this, I think it gives us the opportunity to get our kids back and touch base with them and work hard for the last several weeks and finish out the school year on a positive note," Barnette said. 

Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238.

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