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Demopolis schools announce reopening plan

Local school systems are continuing to work on plans for re-opening to students for the 2020-21 school year with COVID-19 safety measures being top of mind.

On Monday, the Demopolis City Board of Education approved a “Roadmap to Return” plan, but Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said he expects there will be changes.

“The priority will always be the safety of our students, teachers and staff,” Kallhoff said. “This plan is a fluid document and is subject to change depending on local, state, and/or federal directives.”

Demopolis students are scheduled to return to school on Thursday, August 20. The system is providing families with the choice for either on-campus instruction or online learning. As of Monday, Kallhoff said about one-third of students have indicated they would prefer online learning methods.

The plan approved by the school board was established utilizing feedback from parent surveys as well as input from local health officials, a remote learning task force made up of parents and teachers, the Alabama Department of Education, the Alabama Association of School Boards, the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the Marengo County Health Department.

Kallhoff said the plan must be built on trust that everyone is following the plan.

“We need (parents) to trust that we are taking all possible safety and sanitizing precautions while students are on campus. (The school system) needs to trust that (parents and guardians) are monitoring their children’s health at home and not sending students to school who may have COVID-19 symptons,” Kallhoff said.

The DCSS plan covers 12 areas, ranging from mode of instructions and safety precautions to athletics and how the system will respond to a positive COVID-19 case.

Mode of Instruction

There will be three modes of instruction: Online Learning, Blended Delivery and On-Campus Delivery.

Online Delivery — Online delivery will provide all coursework through remote learning with zero or very limited on-campus experiences. The Alabama Department of Education will be providing the online platform at no cost to parents. Certified teachers will be providing support each day.

Those taking online delivery must have reliable internet. DCSS will provide a chromebook if students do not have other devices. Cellphones and tablets are not compatible.

Schoology will be provide students the learning curriculum aligned with state standards.

Access to online learning will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; however, students will have to login during specific test times and meet established classwork and project deadlines.

Attendance will be determined from daily logins and participating in scheduled live learning sessions with a certified teacher.

Online students can not change to on-campus until the second semester.

Blended Deliver — Blended delivery is designed for a limited, identified group of students based on Individual Education Plans. These students will attend school on Tuesday and Thursday and take remote learning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

On-Campus Delivery — On-campus students will attend school five days a week with safety, prevention and hygiene precautions implemented and closely monitored. A student who begins the school year on-campus  can change to online with a one-week notice.

On-campus students will have four embedded remote learning days during the school year.

Students will not be allowed on campus until the following designated times: Westside, 7:35 a.m.; U.S. Jones, 7:30 a.m.; Demopolis Middle, 7:15 a.m.; and Demopolis High, 7:30 a.m.

Breakfasts and lunches will be served in classrooms until further notice.

Class transitions at DHS and DMS will be staggered to avoid congestion in hallways.

On-Campus Safety

Schools will also be taking safety precautions. Student temperatures will be taken and recorded frequently. In the case a child has a fever or any COVID-19 symptom, the student will be isolated and must be picked up within one hour.

Only essential employees will be allowed on-campus and parents will not be permitted beyond the office area. All visitors must wear a mask.

All individuals will be required to sanitize hands upon entering and exiting the schools.

Students may bring water bottles as fountains will be disabled until further notice.

Decisions related to athletics will be made based on the COVID-19 Risk Indicator Dashboard and a limited number of tickets will be sold; half capacity for outdoor events and a quarter capacity for indoor events. Concessions will be limited to prepackaged items.

There will be no field trips until further notice.

Extended Day program will have limited capacity and working parents will be given priority.

Positive Symptoms/Case

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the system will provide information as a precaution; however, contact tracing will be the responsibility of the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Each school will have a designated quarantine area equipped with personal protection equipment.

School nurses will not test for COVID-19.

Students who test positive  may not return to school until released by a physician.

See the full “Roadmap to Return” Plan here: Roadmap to Return Plan