Virtual learning could still be an option for Alabama students this fall

Virtual learning option for fall

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Virtual learning may still be an option for some students this fall. Especially for those parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids back to a traditional classroom during this pandemic.

But state Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey said he and other school leaders are still trying to work out the details and logistics of a plan to do that.

We are still in the midst of a pandemic, but school leaders at the state and local levels are still working on options for students and their families to keep them safe and comfortable this fall.

Dr. Eric Mackey said one of the biggest options would be to allow students to continue their education from home.

“All the details haven’t been worked out, but what would happen is students would still be enrolled in their local school, but they would have the option to stay at home and take their classes virtually and obviously it will be different from school to school and community to community, but we do want to make that available to every child and family in the state,” said Dr. Mackey.

And while students would be getting their instruction at home, Dr. Mackey said it should not be confused with homeschooling.

“One of the options is they would be enrolled in a virtual school, so they might not have the same teacher that the other children in the class would have. Their teacher might be a teacher that’s living in another state, or is retired, or something like that and has a virtual class. So, they’re going to be with a group of other students who might be from other parts of the state,” Dr. Mackey said.

Dr. Mackey added he will ensure those students would be on a platform to follow the state’s learning standards, and in some cases, students might receive instruction both in the classroom and at home.

However, in addition to those options, Dr. Mackey said he’s also anticipating some students having to self-quarantine.

“When or if there is a positive case, or an outbreak in a community, that we can very quickly get on top of that and isolate that case, or those few cases before there is a lot of spread in the community,” Dr. Mackey said.

Dr. Mackey said the final plans will be based on the advice of public health experts, and right now it’s unclear if teachers, students and staff will be required to wear masks and gloves in schools.

He said those mandates will most likely be decided at the local level.

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