MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – Just days after Mobile County Public Schools announced that students will not be returning to class on August 10th, the president of the school board said they had no other choice.
The school system had all intentions to reopen in August, but school board President Don Stringfellow said the data was clear, if they reopened they would be putting the community at risk.
“This was not our first choice,” he said. “We had a really good plan and so forth, but it really came down to the safety of our children and our teachers.”
Before last week’s announcement, Alabama’s largest school system with some 53,000 students was watching the data and talking with local health experts.
Stringfellow said the best option is always in person learning, but the five-member school board and superintendent believe remote classes are the best option for the first 9 weeks.
“I just hope parents understand that this was just not arbitrarily done, we put a lot of thought into it,” he said.
Some of that thought included the social impacts on children not going to school.
Stringfellow said the dangers of COVID-19 and the unknown outweighed everything else.
“Having kids in school is a big deal for socialization and interaction,” he said. “We as human beings like to be with other human beings.”
The Mobile County School System has a plan ready to go once they feel it is safe, they are hoping to get kids back to school after the first 9 weeks.
“This is a big problem and school boards and superintendents are having to make tough decisions all across the country and we had to make one here,” Stringfellow said.
The school board president is making no guarantees about reopening schools, but he hopes it is only a temporary solution.