TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: Tuscaloosa City Schools will return to in-person learning four days a week starting Oct. 19.
Concerns over the impact of a five-day return will have on teachers cannot be ignored, said Mike Daria, Superintendent. That’s why the system will instead use a four-day week in person, in which students will devote Fridays for virtual learning asynchronously, starting Oct. 23.
School officials say they will use the time to allow for deeper cleaning of buildings to protect the safety of students and staff. They say this will also create the opportunity for teachers to plan and collaborate for effective teaching practices as well as connect with families on an as-needed basis. Daria says this decision will be revisited for the second semester.
“The demand this is placing on our educators is enormous,” Daria said. “We are doing this to allow time for their planning and preparation. We worry that the demands on them will not be sustainable as they work to balance in-person teaching, virtual, and hybrid. This day is for them to work on planning so they can be sure to provide high-quality instruction when they are with your children.”
“Our commitment has always return students to our buildings. Our process to return to this model of education has been slow and deliberate, starting with full time virtual for all and then later transitioning to the staggered approach,” Tuscaloosa City Schools officials stated.
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The Tuscaloosa City School board approved a phased reopening plan Tuesday evening for the 2020-21 school year.
The school year will begin August 20. The first nine weeks of school will be virtual learning for all students.
The system’s goal is to be back in the classroom for the second nine weeks, but the final decision will be made at a later date.
The school board will vote on the remainder of the reopening plan next Tuesday.