District leaders weigh in on shift to 5-day traditional learning

District leaders weigh in on shift to 5-day traditional learning
Students in the EBR Parish School System will transition to hybrid learning model after Labor Day

ALABASTER, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabaster City Schools is the latest district to announce plans to shift from a staggered learning schedule to 5 days a week of in person learning.

The announcement Tuesday follows Shelby County and Hoover City Schools shifting its schedule.

Alabaster City School students will start the new schedule September 14. District leaders say the decision is in line with what Shelby County leaders decided.

Shelby County School students will also start the 5-day a week schedule September 14. Leaders say overall positive COVID cases have been low, which was a good sign.

“The first two weeks we’ve been in operation, we’ve had less that 1 percent,” said Cindy Warner, Shelby County Schools. ”The first week, we were at .05 percent. The second week, we up ticked slightly to .07.”

Leaders also looked at ADPH data which shows Shelby County is in the moderate COVID risk category - one level above low risk.

District leaders say social distancing will be harder with more students, but they feel a drastic uptick in cases may be less likely because they have stricter safety measures in buildings.

“We’ve talked previously about some of the positive cases we’ve had. Most of those have been community acquired,” said Warner. “Not school acquired.”

Hoover City Schools in Jefferson County will also start full traditional learning. Leaders weren’t available for a comment Tuesday, but in a message to parents, Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy said “we will continue to follow the COVID numbers.

Before school started, Dr. Murphy noted starting on a staggered schedule would help monitor social distancing in buildings. We’re working to get some more information on if there will be any changes to safety measures with more students headed back into the building.

We’ve seen split reaction among parents about districts deciding to change course just a few weeks into the year. Some posted on social media it’s too soon. Others say they’re trusting the district to lead.

“I think what we’re seeing is that people have been following the rules,” said parent Marcella Roberts. “Doing what’s been asked of them. Wearing their mask.”

Marcella Roberts has two sons enrolled in Hoover City Schools traditional learning and she plans to keep her students in traditional learning as the district shifts to the 5 day schedule.

Hoover City Schools new schedule starts Monday, September 21.

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