MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – Mobile County students will soon have the choice to return to the classroom over the coming weeks according to a memo sent to teachers.
The memo from Superintendent Chresal Threadgill is a change of plans for the district which planned to remain online for the first 9 weeks.
According to the memo, students will be able to choose whether they want to continue remote learning or return to the classroom. Students who come back to the school will continue using the same devices they are currently using at home, and teacher lesson plans will remain the same.
“The numbers have gone down faster than we thought they would which is a good thing," said Rena Philips. "We think that the fact that we did not start school on August 10th and we did not expose our 54,000 students and our 7,000 grownups to each other we think that contributed to the numbers going down.”
The first group returning will be special education students on September 14, followed the next week by Pre-K, Kindergarten, first grade, sixth grade, and ninth grade students. On September 28, second, third, fourth, seventh, and eleventh grade students may return to school, with fifth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth grades returning on October 5.
“If they come into the schools and they realize that they prefer the remote learning we’ll let them switch," Philips said. "We’re not going to let it be so that on Tuesday a student deices I’m going to remote learn today, it’s not going to be a day to day thing.”
The memo said the process will allow schools, teachers, and students to acclimation periods between the phases.
The school system expects to have cases, but they will be taking every precaution to reduce that including stringent cleaning.
“We’re going to have social distancing, we are going to require students to wear masks and we’re making some changes to the way lunches are served the way taken and dismissal run,” Philips said.
The school system says the transition will be seamless and students will have the same classmates and teachers.
"It's the right time to try it and we're letting it be an option," Philips said.