Birmingham City Schools prepares to welcome back students in person

BCS teachers return to classroom, prepare for blended learning

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham City Schools staff returned to the classroom Monday as the district prepares to shift to blended learning for students.

The district switched to full virtual learning again back in December as a safety precaution. Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan says he felt now would be a safer point to start bringing students back in the classroom

The latest data from the state school COVID dashboard shows a decrease in case reports. As of February 26, there were 848 reported school cases statewide, which is down from 981 the week prior.

As districts watch numbers drop, Birmingham City Schools leaders are preparing to welcome students back into buildings.

“We’re excited to come back and definitely excited to have them back in the building,” said Debra Butler, a pre-K teacher at Oxmoor Valley Elementary.

Butler is ready to teach her students in front of her real dry erase board. Teachers returned Monday and students will start the blended learning model March 8.

“We do have our date marked on the calendar for when they’ll come back and so we’re trying to get the students mentally prepared,” said Butler.

Preparation includes talking to students about safety expectations and giving students a feel for the layout of the classroom in short walk-through videos.

“The classroom is just sitting waiting for them to come back,” said Butler. “We’re excited to have them back in the building with the material needed that might not be readily available at home.”

Students will report twice a week and Wednesday is a remote learning day where students work at home while crews deep clean buildings.

Dr. Sullivan says efforts to vaccinate teachers was also a key factor in deciding to shift back to blended learning. District leaders hope bringing students back into the classroom also helps tackle some of the learning loss students experienced with not working face to face with a teacher.

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