Students in Jasper City Schools will return to campuses for traditional instruction, five days a week, beginning Monday, March 29.
The announcement was shared on the school system’s website on Thursday, following Gov. Kay Ivey’s press conference that confirmed the state’s face mask order will continue through April 9 and then expire.
Jasper students have been attending school four days a week, with Wednesday reserved as a virtual day to coincide with a mid-week deep cleaning of schools. Other students have been virtual learning for months.
School system leaders cited low cases of COVID-19 in Jasper City Schools as the driving factor behind the decision to resume instruction five days a week, as well as the fact that many employees have been vaccinated for COVID-19.
“We have been blessed in the last few weeks with a decline in both the positivity rate of COVID-19 in our community and the number of staff and students quarantined in our schools,” a statement on the Jasper City Schools website reads. “During the week of Feb. 26, 2021, the ADPH reflects that Jasper City Schools had less than five cases. Jasper City Schools actually had two cases, but the ADPH reports one to four cases as less than five.”
Students who are remote learners are also expected to return to schools five days a week, except in special circumstances.
A statement from the school system notes, “If there are medical concerns about the return, principals and other administration will meet with parents and students on an individual basis. If there are extreme and documented cases where a student cannot return to on-campus learning, the level of support from individual teachers will be lessened and more at-home instruction by parents or care-givers will be needed for student success.
“The remote program was designed to be an independent home-school, with students being self-directed with support from parents. The home school model will be utilized starting the beginning of the fourth nine weeks.
“The Jasper City Schools’ teachers have done an exceptional job of juggling traditional and remote learning since the beginning of the school year. Our teachers need all students to return so they can focus their efforts on providing strong, rigorous instruction during the last nine weeks of school, in preparation for the upcoming school year.
“Our teachers have juggled so much trying to serve our remote students and traditional students. They are to be commended for what they have done because serving two sets of students has been difficult at best.”
The last nine weeks of the school year will focus on addressing learning gaps, which school system leaders say have been “significant” for remote learners.
“We have made tremendous progress in our approach to remote learning, but we must be able to determine where students are in their learning,” Jasper City Schools’ leaders announced. “The only way to do that is for the teacher to be able to see their work and thought processes. We must be ready to begin the new school year with a clear picture of where to start with these students.”
The full announcement from the school system can be read on the Jasper City Schools website, https://www.jasper.k12.al.us/.
STORY BY NICOLE SMITH – DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE
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