HALEYVILLE - Governor Kay Ivey’s order to suspend school for the remainder of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic has left school officials scurrying to make tough decisions regarding online learning as well as many other factors for the remainder of the school year.
Haleyville City Schools Administrators reached out to the public with important dates and information during a live Facebook conference, Friday, March 27, where input from students and parents could be typed in and viewed during the conference.
HCS will begin giving out learning packets to students in elementary school beginning on Monday, April 6. The learning method for elementary students for the remainder of the school year will focus on packets rather than online formats, stressed Principal Christy Bice.
Learning Packets for middle and high schools will also be given out at drive through services outside the buildings this Monday, April 6, but those schools have the packets available for students who may not have internet access at homes to participate in Google Classroom or other online forms of learning the remainder of the year.
“We are going to work with you and make sure that we do all that we can to make sure that your students have what they need,” Dr. Sutherland assured the public in the FB live conference.
Bice explained they are emphasing lessons that students can pick up in their packets instead of relying on the Google classroom format.
Bice issued a message to all parents and students watching the live feed that they are truly missed during this difficult time.
“This is nothing that any of us could ever have anticipated the end of our year looking like,” Bice said. “But we’re in it together and we’re going to get it done.”
School personnel are reaching out to students and parents this week, checking on their wellbeing and informing them of procedures in place for the remainder of the school year.
Starting April 6, lesson packets will be available at a drive through on the 4-6th grade side of the elementary school, with school officials being informed of the child’s name and grade, so their packet can be obtained and given to them.
If a parent cannot pick up packets on April 6-7, by lunch time, packets will be set outside for them to pickup, by checking for their child’s grade level and name, Bice further explained.
Once they packets are completed, they can be dropped off at the school, at the parents’ convenience, Bice noted.
Parents also need to contact the school and make arrangements to pick up their child’s belongings from their desk, she added.
Plans are in the works to reimburse parents any money related to field trips or other projects that could not be completed due to the closure of the school.
Kindergarten registration has also been moved from April 1 to the first of May, but follow school websites for updates and more information, Bice noted.
Middle School Principal Bo Wilcoxson began his segment by congratulating the class of 2020, who are facing graduation amidst unprecedented circumstances.
“I also wanted to give a shout-out to our middle school students, 6th, 7th and 8th graders, I want to wish the 8th grade good luck, as they cross to the high school starting next year,” Wilcoxson said. “I know everybody will do well.”
Addressing 6th graders, Wilcoxson added, “We’re looking forward to next year, back with y’all and 5th graders, we’re excited about the group coming over. We’ve heard a lot of good things about this group, so we’re really excited about them joining us.”
School officials will be contacting middle school students this next week through Google Classroom. he said.
“What we are wanting to find out, first of all, is if you have internet access or internet capabilities at your house,” Wilcoxson continued.
“If you do not, then we are going to find a way to serve you, and to make sure we can provide for you and your students’ needs.”
Starting April 6, or when learning will resume, all students who not have internet access to Google classroom can pick up lesson packets from outside the school building for 6th, 7th and 8th grade, at the entrance across from the elementary school, Wilcoxson explained.
Tubs at each school are marked per grade level with each child’s name on a folder of work that needs to be completed, he added.
Books that have been taken home, such as library books or textbooks, can be dropped off at a larger tub, Wilcoxson said.
Updates, he continued, can be followed on the Haleyville Middle School Facebook page.
High School Principal Davey Reed stressed that prom and graduation may be postponed, but not cancelled.
However, the senior educational tour to Washington, D.C. and New York has been cancelled, and refunds will be given.
All school relating sporting events have also been cancelled, Reed said.
“We want students to check Google classroom on a daily basis,” Reed said, noting that instruction in this form of distance learning or through packets will resume on April 6.
High School packets will also be available for pickup on April 6.
“Seniors you have graduated, if you have done everything you have supposed to do, so we’re just waiting on the ceremony,” Reed noted.
Any questions can be directed to Reed by calling him. He will be at the school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. If a signature is needed, come by and note the number to call which is on the sign posted on the door, he said.
Any questions for teachers can be made by calling the school on Wednesday, when staff will be on hand answering the phone from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“We’re doing what we need to do to keep everyone safe,” Reed concluded.
HCS Child Nutrition Supervisor Emma Ann Hallman noted the school system is committed to providing meals for school age children, as has been done recently.
Hallman encouraged everyone to follow the HCS CNP Facebook page for updates.
Google forms, found on the FB page, will give Hallman an idea of how much food should be prepared.
“Currently, we are looking at preparing up to 6,000 meals for next week’s distribution,” Hallman stated concerning the giveaway held this week.
Food distribution was held Monday, March 30, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the front entrance drive through lane at the high school school staff handed out meals to them.
The next food distribution will be Wednesday, April 8. 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the front entrance drive-through curb side pick up line at the high school, available for school age children.
The meals will be free of charge for those ages 18 and younger, and each student will receive five breakfasts and five lunches, Hallman noted.
Plans are to have the meal distribution continuing each Wednesday until the end of the school year in May, Hallman stated.
Students do not have to attend HCS to receive the meals, according to Hallman.
Dr. Sutherland said the school system planned to have prom and graduation, but those dates have not officially been set and may be in the non-traditional format compared to how they have been in the past.
“If there’s anything we can do for you, please call us, send us a Facebook message,” Dr. Sutherland urged. “All of our schools have an answering service. If you leave a message, we will check those regularly.
“We are all going to get through this together,” Dr. Sutherland pointed out. “Please bear with us. We’ll answer every question we can.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.