Jefferson County Schools start school year remotely

Local News

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — For the first nine weeks of school, Jefferson County students will be going remote.

Walter Gonsoulin, superintendent of Jefferson County Schools, said they made the decision after sending a survey to parents this summer. He said 56% of parents wanted their child to go remote and 44% wanted traditional school.

Gonsoulin said another factor in deciding all-remote learning was when Jefferson County was in the red zone for COVID-19 cases. He said it was not an easy decision.

“We have to be flexible because this is a very fluid situation and it’s going to be difficult as we get through because it impacts people in different ways and so, whether we’re talking about faculty and staff or talking about students and parents, our goal is to serve no matter what. But as we navigate through these waters, we never know what issue might come out so we have to be able to pivot at any moment,” Gonsoulin said.

Gonsoulin said the goal after the first nine weeks is to welcome students back to traditional school. Students and parents can also make the decision to stay remote.

The other option Jefferson County students were given was the Jefferson County Virtual Academy of Learning, which if chosen, the student has to commit to the program for the full school year and is taught by Alabama certified teachers.

Gonsoulin said his Jefferson County teachers will be doing the remote teaching and are ready to go.

“I can tell you anyone who is going through this process would guarantee whether they are an administrator or teacher, it has allowed educators to look at education differently. We’ve had some hang ups, it’s been a difficult process but in the end, the only thing I can positively say on this is it has brought us closer together but it has also taught us to say maybe we can do this in education as opposed to what we’ve done before,” he said.

Gonsoulin said they are looking to forward to what they learn in these nine weeks of remote learning and also hopefully welcoming students back after the nine weeks.


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