Governor, State Superintendent Announce Learning From Home
Governor Kay Ivey announced that she signed a supplemental state of emergency that allows school systems to resume instruction from home starting April 6 until the remainder of the school year. The Tuscaloosa City Schools is currently in the middle of a state-mandated closure due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Today's announcement paves the way for what is to come for students and teachers.
"Learning must continue, but health and safety are important," said Ivey of the order.
During the closure, school administrators have developed an e-learning plan called "Learning at Home: The TCS Way," which will feature a blended model of learning that includes the use of Google Classroom for students in grades PK-5, Canvas for grades 6-12, while offering academic packets upon request.
TCS teachers are currently engaged in contacting each and every student's family to determine what technological supports are needed in order to implement this new phase of learning. Person calls to families started Wednesday and should be complete by Friday for each of the system's 11,000-plus students.
The governor's order requires "equity to ensure we are calling upon every resource that we can to close the gaps for each student," said Ivey.
Superintendent Mike Daria said that, too, is his focus.
“Our challenge now is making sure that the high-quality instruction that took place in a traditional setting in the Tuscaloosa City Schools continues during the months of April and May. That’s the work that we have now is to prepare for at-home instruction and at-home learning,” said Daria.
In the coming days, Daria and his leadership--along with the state's other superintendents--will work with the Alabama State Department of Education to "(identify) the critical learning standards" for each grade level, according to state superintendent Eric Mackey, who joined Ivey at the press conference. "We are working diligently with local school superintendents in their teams to make sure there is a plan in place for every child."
Daria agrees that will be the case in Tuscaloosa, too. He said the commitment to our students’ success and our students’ learning does not change with this decision.
“Our teachers will still be driving the teaching and learning program for your child--that doesn’t change. It will be done virtually; it will be done from afar,” said Daria. “ Our teachers will still use their knowledge of teaching and learning; they just are doing it in a different platform.”
The superintendent noted that many TCS teachers were implementing these strategies prior to the closure and that parents will soon see that the teachers are up for the challenge that is being supported with additional professional development in the coming days.
“I feel certain that parents are going to see that at home during the teaching and learning experience,” said Daria.
While the news was expected as the state implements social distancing to lessen the impacts of COVID-19, it does come with a dose of bad news for students.
"Unfortunately for sports and for band, it means the end for this school year," said Mackey.
Please continue to monitor the Tuscaloosa City Schools’ website and social media for updates.