Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey announced Thursday, March 26, the closure of all Alabama Schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. While this closure means no school will take place in the school buildings, the governor and state superintendent said alternative methods would be used in this unprecedented time to ensure Alabama’s children still receive their instructional hours for the rest of this school year. They said ‘how’ that happens will be left up to each individual school system to identify the plan that works best for its students. This is all due to continued safety measures being put in place in the state to try and protect citizens from the novel coronavirus [COVID-19]. Dr. Mackey said the new target date for the 2019-2020 school year to end now would be June 5th. Shortly following Thursday’s announcement, Elba City Schools Superintendent Chris Moseley sent out a message to the Elba community. “As most of you already know, it has been announced that students will not return to school for the remainder of this school year,” he said “We had already begun planning for this possibility before we closed.” Schools already had been closed since March 19th due to the COVID-19 crisis and were scheduled to return to school on Monday, April 6, until last Thursday’s announcement from the governor and state schools superintendent. Coffee County Schools Superintendent Kevin Killingsworth said the following in a letter he released following the announcement. He noted while the announcement was disheartening and not the course hoped for, the Coffee County Schools’ district is working diligently to develop a plan that will ensure all students receive critical standards for the last nine weeks of school. “Our primary goal is to ensure the health and safety of our students, while delivering critical content to provide opportunities for promotion to the next grade level and to earn the second-semester credits required to advance [students] in their pursuit of college and career goals,” Killingsworth said. Both school systems were scheduled for Spring Break this week and have been observing that as normal. A return to educating begins Monday, April 6, only from a distance learning perspective instead of the normal classroom setting for the last nine weeks of school. Both Moseley and Killingsworth said more information would be provided to their faculty, students and parents throughout this Spring Break week as all prepared for their new way of teaching and learning to begin next week and continue until the end of this school year. “To our parents and students, please be patient as we gather information and make decisions for the remainder of this year,” Moseley said. “I assure you we will get information out as we develop plans.” Elba City Schools has announced this week a plan for food distribution to students for breakfast and lunch for each Monday – Friday. Please see Page 7 of today’s paper for more information on that plan. “While I am aware there are still many questions and concerns, I assure everyone that we are committed to addressing these questions and providing more guidance as information becomes available,” Killingsworth said. Each superintendent encouraged all to continue to monitor website pages, Facebook pages, etc. for updates. They also said they would be utilizing the phone messaging systems to get information out as well. “As educators we are all heartbroken for the activities that would be missed for the remainder of the year,” Moseley said. “That being said, depending on where this goes there are possibilities of some activities taking place much later than expected.” During last week’s announcement, Dr. Mackey said events such as proms, graduations, etc. could possibly still be held; however, he said that would need to be after the June 5th date. Moseley and Killingsworth said, if possible, the schools would make every effort to make sure such events [that were upcoming when the schools were closed] take place even if during the summer.

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