MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Alabama’s largest school system will begin the school year online, Superintendent Chresal Threadgill announced Thursday.
Threadgill, who leads the Mobile County Public School System, said the school year will begin Sept. 1 with remote instruction. He said he was too concerned about his employees and students.
“I cannot, with strong reservations, put their health and even their lives in jeopardy,” he said. “Therefore, I am announcing this afternoon that Mobile County Public Schools will not reopen for students on August the 10th, 2020.
Threadgill said administrators had worked hard on a reopening plan. But with COVID-19 cases rising, he said at a news conference, he decided to toss that plan aside.
“Today, I announced to my administrative team that we are going to have to change the direction,” he said. “The number of COVDI-19 cases are continuing to rise each and every day. And that is very alarming. As a leader I have to make tough decisions. But I do not make decision that’s best for me. As a leader I make decisions that best for those that follow me.”
Threadgill said online instruction will last for at least nine weeks, after which, administrators will evaluate where the county stands regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision stands in contrast to the Baldwin County Public School System and other area school systems, which are pressing forward to open school on time, with various options for classroom instruction and home-based internet learning.
August will be period of planning and professional development for staff, Threadgill said.
“Everyone will not agree with this decision,” he said. “Nor will this road be easy. However, I am blessed to have the best board, administrative team, faculty and staff, and I know without any doubt that we will continue doing what is best for our students together.”