Dr. Mackey releases info about student return

New timeline for schools to reopen

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey released a new timeline of when students could return to school campuses and it could be as early as next month.

“We want to return to school as close to normal as possible in August,” said Dr. Mackey," So we’re looking at what are the things we need to do to get ready."

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey hopes that gradually bringing students back will help create a smooth return.

The new timeline would allow students 13 and older to have athletic practice or summer school in small groups starting June 8.

“We know we need groups of 10 people or less and they need to be able to be able to socially distant and that’s going to be easier with high school children,” said Dr. Mackey.

Dr. Mackey says he's working closely with the state high school athletic association to create guidance for schools for athletic programs.

He expects students 12 and under to be able to have summer school or enrichment programs in small groups starting July 6, but no date is set in stone.

“We fully support the scientific approach that we have to be data driven and not date driven,” said Dr. Mackey, “But at the same time we know we have to make plans.”

Jefferson County school leaders are making plans as precautions either way.

“Had a meeting today with high school principals to discuss,” said Dr. Walter Gonsulin, Jefferson County School Superintendent.

The district says they will continue with virtual learning throughout the summer, but they’re working on plans now for summer athletics and awaiting more guidance from the state.

“We will meet with the nursing department. Wiping down with equipment after every child’s use,” said Dr. Gonsulin, “Making sure have an understanding and we can make sure we keep students and faculty safe.”

Jefferson County leaders say parents should expect to get updates within the next few weeks.

Dr. Mackey says the state expects to have updates on fall re-opening by mid-to late June.

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