BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — All Birmingham City Schools employees will return to in-person work on March 1 while blended instruction will be offered for students beginning March 8, the school system announced Friday.
“The positive test rate for COVID-19 is trending downward in Jefferson County. This week the rate is about the same as it was in November 2020 when we began blended instruction,” Superintendent Mark Sullivan said in a statement. “Also, hundreds of BCS employees have received at least the first dose of vaccine and hundreds more are in the scheduling pipeline, thanks in part to our partnership with UAB. With these developments, I am confident that we can now safely return to blended learning.”
Families will be contacted by their respective school staff regarding their preference for blended or continued virtual learning. Students in Group A will have in-person instruction on Mondays and Tuesdays while students in Group B will have in-person instruction on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will be deep-cleaning days, with students working independently at home on assignments from their teachers.
In a statement released Friday, system officials said they would be taking several steps to ensure a safe return and would work in the coming weeks to ensure that all facilities are cleaned and sanitized. In addition, they said they are also examining all ventilation systems and replacing filters. Personal protective equipment will be provided for all educators, support staff and students.
Sullivan said that despite the downward trend of COVID-19 cases in the area, he is encouraging students and staff to continue following safety protocols including wearing masks at all times, hand washing, and social distancing to help mitigate the spread of the virus.