BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE 12/28/20: Birmingham City Schools will continue with remote teaching and learning throughout January, Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan announced Monday. The school district returned to remote learning in early December as Jefferson County saw an accelerated increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
“Most educators agree that in-person learning is most effective for a majority of students, but the health and safety of our scholars, our faculty and our staff are more important,” Sullivan said. “The school district will reassess the impact of the virus in mid-January and make an announcement regarding its next steps at that time.”
Also in January, Sullivan said the district will introduce initiatives to reach out to parents virtually with workshops and more instruction regarding devices and learning platforms.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase, Birmingham City School officials say they have decided to return to remote learning, beginning Dec. 7.
In addition, because of transportation challenges, the system says students at Ramsay High School will return to remote learning on Thursday, Dec. 3.
“The current COVID-19 global pandemic is drastically impacting our community and our schools,” Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan said. “While we realize many students have enjoyed in-person learning, we feel that our remote model is the best option at this time.”
Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan said the school district will reassess the impact of the pandemic and decide on the next steps after the winter holiday break.
“Our students and faculty are not immune from these spikes. We are seeing an uptick in the number of positive cases throughout the district among our students, faculty and staff,” Sullivan continued.
Birmingham City Schools started the blended learning schedule Monday for kindergarten through 8th-grade students.
Students at Sun Valley Elementary are pretty evenly split. The principal says around 160 stayed fully virtual. A little over 190 students are reporting for the blended learning days throughout the week.
Leaders say teachers are working with students to maintain social distancing and reminding students to wear their mask during the day because the threat of COVID-19 is still real. They’re closely watching the science, but they’re also taking a close look at what they can do on the ground level to protect students and staff from COVID-19 and continue in-person learning.
“There was a lot of trepidation, but once the children got back on campus we realized now we need to manifest our purpose, which is to educate children, and we do understand that we’re doing that in a different space. We’re doing it with precautions, protocols and procedures to keep everyone safe,” said Delilah Stitt, Principal Sun Valley Elementary.
Staff say the safety guidelines created were implemented well on day one. There will be another blended learning day Tuesday for students in group A tomorrow. No students report on Wednesday and schools are deep cleaned. Students in Group B will report Thursday and Friday.