Hoover City Schools moving to in-person classes 4 days per week

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Des Moines Public Schools custodian Tracy Harris cleans chairs in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. Getting children back to school safely could mean keeping high-risk spots like bars and gyms closed. That’s the latest thinking from some public health experts. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — As the school year begins, Hoover City Schools is making slight adjustments to its virtual and in-person learning setup during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 34% of all HCS students chose virtual instruction instead of in-person, the superintendent said in a letter to parents. For students, Pre-K through 12th grade, who chose in-person instruction, they have attended school on a staggered schedule for the past four weeks.

Starting Sept. 21, HCS elementary students, Pre-K through 5th grade, who chose in-person will attend school four days per week, with the exception of Wednesdays, the superintendent announced Sept. 15.

On Wednesdays, elementary students will not come to school but will be given assignments by their teacher to reinforce instruction and to support forward learning. The elementary teachers will have an opportunity on Wednesdays to support students including those who may be in quarantine as a result of exposure or who are in isolation because of being symptomatic.

The middle and high school students who have chosen in-person instruction will remain in the staggered schedule at this point. They will not move to the four-day in-person learning that the elementary students are moving toward on Sept. 21.

HCS also took the time to let parents and guardians of the students know that although the schools do its best to maintain social distancing among students who are attending school in person, they are not able to guarantee six feet of distance on the school bus or in the classroom.

Furthermore, HCS is intending to return elementary, middle and high school students to five days of instruction as soon as reasonably possible but no later than the beginning of the second 9-week grading period which begins on October 19. This return date does not apply to students who chose virtual learning only.

Some of the points we considered when choosing to add in-person instructional days for elementary students include younger children are less likely to contract and transmit COVID-19, elementary students do not change classes making it easier to cohort or keep them separated, other school districts in our area successfully opened their school year with elementary students attending five days per week without major incidents, and the Jefferson County Health Officer affirmed bringing elementary children back to school for additional days is a reasonable next step for us.

We have and will continue to be in close communication with state and local health officers, state and local leaders, and we will continue to review the latest information on COVID-19 including trends in our state, Jefferson County, Shelby County, and in HCS and surrounding school districts.

We will communicate with you as we move forward to the next step of getting our middle and high school students, who have chosen in-person instruction, back to school for five instructional days.

Superintendent Kathy Murphy & Hoover City School Board

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