Alabaster City Schools to start on staggered schedule

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – After guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health, who released updated guidelines for reopening schools this fall on Aug. 4, Alabaster City Schools has decided to start the 2020-2021 school year with a staggered schedule.

The schedule, which is almost identical to that of Shelby County Schools who released their plan a day earlier, will ask those doing traditional learning this year to attend school in person two days a week, while doing the other three days of the week remotely.

Students will be split into two groups, Group “A” and Group “B.”

Group “A” requires students with last names A-L to attend in-person, traditional classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, while then receiving remote instruction on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Group “B” will require last names M-Z to attend school for in-person, traditional learning on Thursdays and Fridays, while receiving remote instruction on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

All students will learn remotely on Wednesdays, which will allow for the school to be properly cleaned and sanitized during that time.

During that day, teachers will also be able to make plans and communicate with students and parents according to a release from Alabaster city Schools.

“This Remote Learning/Alternative Schedule will enable classrooms to fully incorporate 6 feet social distancing guidelines to minimize exposure and quarantine of students and teachers,” read the release. “Without the implementation of the alternative schedule, despite lowering classroom sizes due to enrollment of students in our Champions Virtual Academy, it is not possible to consistently maintain 6 feet distance between all students and staff.”

Students residing in the same household will be in the same group even if they have different last names.

All remote learning will be taught by the students’ classroom teacher or teachers through Google Classroom and Schoology.

“On remote learning days, pacing will mirror traditional school days with daily assignments and due dates enforced,” read the release. “Teachers will publish their office hours in Google Classroom/Schoology for classes who are learning remotely.”

Attendance will be taken daily for both in-person and remote learning and on days when students are doing remote learning, they must be logged into Google Classroom before 11:30 a.m. to be considered present.

Students who indicated a need for electronic devices for use in remote learning will be notified about pickup instructions in the near future.

With ACS starting school on Wednesday, Aug. 19, Group “A” will attend classes that day, while Thursday will be used as a cleaning day before Group “B” has their first day on Friday. The first full week of the staggered schedule will start Monday, Aug. 24.

The staggered schedule will last four weeks with additional guidelines for parents or guardians provided by Sept. 18.