Guardians and Students,
With the 2020-21 school year fast approaching I wanted to reassure you that we have a team of educators working to create a reentry plan that is in compliance with the state guidelines and will be in the best interest of our students, families, and faculty members. Because information from the Tennessee State Department of Education frequently updates and changes, we have been hesitant to release our own guidelines until closer to the school year. However, we do believe it is necessary to send out the final guidelines with enough time so that families can make the best decisions for their students and to prepare them for the upcoming year. That is why on July 1st we will release a Family Guide to our students, parents, and guardians that states the outline and expectations for virtual learning. We will also release the extra precautions that will be taken by each school to help reduce the spread of the virus. Once released on July 1st, parents will then fill out an individual form for their student(s) if they wish to begin the school year in a virtual learning format and submit them to the district by July 10th. This will allow the schools enough time to prepare for those students as well.
Just a couple of reminders and thoughts as you make plans for your child to return to school:
- Please know that although we are offering a digital option for those students who have underlying health issues or varying immune deficiencies, we would encourage all students who can, to choose the traditional school option and return to school as normal with the extra safety precautions in place.
- Also, though we will still be providing bus service, you are strongly encouraged to transport your child to school if possible. We will be taking temperatures of students before they get on the bus, so for this reason it is mandatory that an adult be with each child at the bus stop. We appreciate your help with this.
- Also, a reminder that masks will be encouraged for staff and students but not required.
There is no doubt we find ourselves in challenging times. We definitely see a need for change in our country. Many of our families are hurting right now and because of that we all hurt. We love our students, staff and community deeply and are ready to place our arms around our students and tell them how much we love and support them. Our students need all of us now more than ever during these trying times and all the uncertainty. I have no doubt that as we work together as a community we will survive this crisis and others.
WE ARE ALCOA AND TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!
Director, Alcoa City Schools
First, let me thank you for your support and understanding as we, as a nation and community, responded to the unexpected invasion of COVID-19 in March. I am very proud of the way our Alcoa Schools students, parents, and staff handled the demands we were faced with to protect everyone as we continued to educate and feed our students during the most unusual of circumstances.
As you know, everyone has concerns and questions related to how our schools plan to reopen on July 22nd. While we are in the business of educating, our first priority is the safety of our students and our employees. Be assured, we have been working diligently on our Alcoa Schools 2020-2021 restart plans. Due to all the factors and information needed to plan as COVID-19 issues unfold, we are continuing to follow state guidelines and tweak our plan as expectations change. Our desire is to return to school as normal (traditional) with enhanced safety and cleaning procedures. However, we have to be proactive and be prepared during these ever-changing times to continue educating our students if and when circumstances change, as predicted, throughout the year related to the health and safety of our students and employees.
Our recent survey gathered input from parents, employees, and administrators regarding concerns and thoughts about returning or working digitally. So far the results show that at least 90% of survey results are in favor of returning to traditional school. We are working on three scenarios:
- Enhanced Traditional Plan- We would continue school as normal with enhanced safety precautions in place such as taking temperatures of students and staff before entering the school building or bus, increased hand sanitizer availability, increased frequency of cleaning of high touch areas, cleaning/sanitizing desks and table tops between classes, limited visitation inside school buildings by asking parents not to walk inside with students and not allowing outside visitors. Face masks will be allowed but not required. (Again, this is our plan for July pending more guidance from the Governor/State Department.)
- Social Distancing/Hybrid Plan- Hybrid would be a combination of distance and face-to-face instruction with increased safety and disinfecting measures as listed above, which could be done in a variety of configurations. This will be available to students who, at this time, have immune compromised health issues and parents that do not feel comfortable returning at this time.
- Full Distance Learning Plan- All students would participate in the learning of new material, continued standard pacing, interactive lessons, graded assignments, and assessments. This would be enacted if the Governor’s Executive Order closed schools again due to health concerns.
I encourage our parents to frequently visit our webpage and follow our social media for up-to-date and accurate information. Everyone must understand that we cannot please all as we make these decisions. Our priority is to keep everyone safe while not making life more difficult for our parents. Each family situation is uniquely different. We fully understand your varied concerns about health and safety, distance learning, the importance of face-to-face instruction, parents needing to work, the economy, and all of the other unexpected consequences of not being in school or being in school in a traditional method. If for some reason, we cannot be in a traditional school situation, our goal is to find the best way to have our students safely in our buildings as frequently as possible to ensure the health and well-being of all.
*As we move forward, we are also taking into consideration that we have medically compromised students. Parents of students with a higher risk of severe illness can contact their school administration to discuss options.
*In July, school administrators will finalize plans with parents regarding their academic needs for the upcoming school year.
*As we continue the Alcoa Schools 2020-2021 restart planning process, we will keep you updated. Thank you for your continued support and positivity as we strive to do what is best for ALL of our students and employees during these challenging times.
- We will continue to provide bus service.
- We would like to encourage you to transport your child to school if possible. This will assist with the number of students on the same bus for a period of time.
- Because we will be taking temperatures before students get on the bus, it will be mandatory that a parent stay at the bus stop with their child.
- If siblings are riding the same bus, encourage them to sit together.