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State plans for upcoming school year

As the upcoming school year approaches, State Superintendent Eric Mackey released his plan for returning to school in August amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Alabama State Department of Education released a 46-page “roadmap to reopening schools” Friday, with guidelines for each Alabama school district.

“This is uncharted territory for each of us and something we are going to have to figure out along the way,” Mackey said in a press conference Friday.

Although the state department is releasing suggestions for reopening schools, it will be up to each school district to develop a specific plan for opening.

Russellville City Schools Superintendent Heath Grimes said RCS is working on its plan for opening schools and will update parents and students along the way.

“Our ‘roadmap’ for in-person learning will be comprehensive and will address technology, instruction, transportation, lunch and breakfast programs,” Grimes said in a press release. “It will outline disinfecting and cleaning protocols, scheduling and class change protocols and classroom and extracurricular protocols. It will include how we will practice social distancing as much as is possible and how we can limit intermingling and large group gatherings.

“We are working hard to cover all areas and make sure our students, teachers and staff remain as safe as possible.”

Both Franklin County Schools and RCS are planning to offer traditional in-person learning as well as an online option for parents and students who do not feel safe to return.

Students at RCS who choose to pursue the virtual school option will do so for the entire semester. Hamilton has not outlined yet whether FCS will do the same.

“The Franklin County School System is diligently working on the implementation of a plan that will be specific to the students of our school system,” said FCS Superintendent Greg Hamilton in a letter to parents.

Hamilton said he and other board members are working to generate a plan and will release details for the upcoming school year the week of July 21.

Hamilton also said Franklin County Schools has made the decision to amend the system’s start date, which will now have students returning to school Aug. 20.

RCS will keep its original start date, with the first day of school being Aug. 12.