Alabaster City Schools releases reopening plan, requirements

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Alabaster City Schools released its plan to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year on July 16. The plan includes a variety of measures and guidelines to ensure the safety of students including alternative learning options and face mask rules.

This new plan is based on the “Roadmap to Reopening Schools” from the Alabama State Department of Education released on June 26, with additional input from Alabaster City Schools officials.

“In recent months the COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in unprecedented changes to society and the educational system of our children,” said ACS Superintendent Wayne Vickers. “As we prepare to embark on a new academic year we have worked diligently on a plan of action that outline a safe, efficient and equitable return to school for all students and staff.”

The schools will offer two types of learning options for students upon returning, which include traditional and virtual through the Champions Virtual Academy. The first day of school for both learning types will be Aug. 19.

Upon returning to school students will be following the order issued by Gov. Kay Ivey requiring all persons who are 7 years or older to wear face coverings. They also strongly advise for children 6 and under. Staff at each of the schools will be provided with a clear face shield or other facial coverings.

There are some exceptions for facial coverings including medical conditions or disabilities that would prevent one from wearing them. Those who cannot wear a facial covering should contact the school’s nurse prior to returning to school.

Students who participate in traditional learning will attend classes “in a traditional, on-campus setting.”

Virtual learning will be done through the ACS Champions Virtual Academy. “All learning will be digital via an online platform such as SchoolsPLP, Edgenuity, or ACCESS with ACS teachers acting as instructors and/or facilitators,” according to the ACS plan.

Students must register for virtual learning by July 24.

The schools will encourage and promote social distancing as much as possible. The school will not screen students or faculty for temperature, but is asking them to do so before coming into the facilities. Those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not come to class.

All students or staff members who have been infected with or come into close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 should immediately notify the school nurse at their school and should remain in quarantine for at least 14 days. Before returning, the student or faculty member will need to be cleared through ADPH guidelines.

The schools will implement enhanced cleaning procedures to ensure that students participating in traditional learning, and staff and faculty members are as safe as possible.

Students who wish to participate in virtual learning should visit Acsboe.org/EnrollChampionsAcademy and submit an application before July 24.

More information about how the virtual learning will be conducted and resources for parents can be found at Acsboe.org/RemoteLearningStudent.

When it comes to the Child Nutrition Program at the schools, including lunch and breakfast, all CNP staff will complete a course called “Coronavirus Prevention and Control Strategies.”

In addition to that, occupancy in cafeterias will be reduced with rotating schedules for eating in the cafeteria and classrooms and spaced seating. Longer meal periods will also be in place for a more staggered meal service. There will also be no self-serving in the cafeteria and sanitation will be a top priority.

“We wish to thank our families and the Alabaster community for their continued patience, support, and encouragement as teen COVID-19 response continues to unfold. Schools are critical components of communities and have a profound impact on the well-being, growth, and enrichment of students and their families,” said Vickers. “As always keeping our students and staff safe remains a priority.”

More information about the ACS reopening plan can be found at Acsboe.org.