Schools, communites preparing for online learning due to COVID-19

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Schools across Alabama are preparing to switch to online learning for kindergarten through 12th-grade students.

While several schools have been offering a few classes with online instruction, the switch to all students distance learning is unprecedented.

The move is also presenting an obstacle as many students do not have access to WiFi or computers.

Bessemer City Schools handed out laptops to students who would need them Wednesday morning.

Hoover City Schools says students, starting in 3rd grade, have been assigned a chromebook all year, and are equipped for the switch.

Hoover has also deployed school buses with internet connections to neighborhoods where students may not have access.

“We took a map, and we did a survey and asked who does have and who doesn’t have connectivity,” Bryan Phillips, the Chief Technology Officer with HCS said.

The technology has been there all school year, Phillips says, so it was just a matter of getting it in place.

Up to 60 students will be able to park near the school bus in their neighborhood and access the internet.

In Hueytown, several nonessential businesses have decided to open their internet to students.

“We knew that it was a need,” says business owner Taylor Cater.

Her Merle Norman shop is closed, but she is one of around ten business owners leaving their WiFi open.

“It’s for a great cause. I would love for the kids that need it to be able to use it.”

Cater says to log on, students can find her business on Facebook and message her for the password to connect. Her only rule, students can’t come to play around on social media.

Jasper City Schools and Shelby County Schools have released online learning plans to students this week.

Alabaster City Schools and Jefferson County Schools say they are finalizing plans and communicating it with parents and students Friday and next week.


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