HCS announces ‘Roadmap to Reopening’ with change in start date
“As much as we want to return to normal operations, even a newer normal, our fall semester will definitely look and feel different than anything any of us have ever experienced.”
Those were the words of Hartselle City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Dee Jones while addressing the school district’s “Roadmap to Reopening” plan last week.
“HCS has and will continue to base our decisions on the scientific evidence surrounding COVID-19 and pandemic response in Montgomery,” Jones said, while assuring parents that her staff and administration have been hard at work on the plan.
Initially scheduled for Aug. 6, HCS will stagger students’ return across Aug. 10–11, with everyone being present Aug. 12. Students whose last names begin with A through K will begin Aug. 10, and students whose last names begin with L through Z will begin Aug. 11. On Aug. 12, all students who opt for in-person instruction will attend. Distance learning will begin Aug. 10.
The choice between in–person or distance learning is available to all Hartselle students, and parents have until Aug. 19 to commit to one or the other. Jones said although it would be ideal for families to decide their preferred mode of instruction by Aug. 10, the week–long grace period exists for parents who are apprehensive about the school year or who are unsure which program is best. After Aug. 19, students will be locked into either program for the remainder of the fall semester.
A general statement of concern is included in the roadmap; it asks that everyone do their part to help control the virus once schools reopen.
“HCS prioritizes the health of its students and staff, but it would be disingenuous for us to assert that we can guarantee the wellness and safety of every student under our care,” the plan reads. “Even when we adhere to the guidelines of the ALSDE, ADPH and other such agencies, our students and staff will likely fall victim to the virus in a way that is similar to what the rest of our community will experience.”
According to the comprehensive plan, schools and the central office will post color-coded signs on all doors indicating the current status and wellness protocols. These protocols will not be directly tied to the similar system in use by the ADPH but will instead correspond specifically to the current state of affairs in the community and respective school.
The following colors and respective responses are actions HCS will take if and when COVID-19 is more prevalent in the community or schools:
- Green: Schools will heighten awareness to community outbreak, strengthen cleaning protocols daily and send out healthy practice reminders to students and staff
- Yellow: On a school–by–school basis, modifications in schedules and other daily practices might be warranted.
- Red: If the system reaches red, schools will likely close again and reopen only when conditions in the school and community improve.
Face masks will be provided and encouraged but not required unless in certain transition situations when distancing cannot be maintained, according to the plan. For those parents who want their students to wear face masks, the school dress code applies to logos on the coverings.
Jones reiterated the comprehensive plan is subject to change.
The complete roadmap plan and a quick reference guide are available online at www.hartselletigers.org. The district’s website also includes a way for parents to ask specific questions about the roadmap to reopening.