Benjamin Russell High School building

File/ The Outlook Alexander City Schools are preparing lessons during the school shutdown.

Despite schools being shut down across the state due to COVID-19, Alexander City Schools students won’t miss a day of learning. The school system plans to use paper and online work while school isn’t in session through April 6. 

Superintendent Dr. Keith Lankford said while the schools are on spring break this week, the school system is finalizing plans for what to do through the shutdown. Even though state superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said public schools aren’t required to do e-learning, Lankford said the school system wants to continue its education because it’s best for the students to keep learning.

“We are in uncharted territory and I think that’s everybody in the United States,” Lankford said. “I think (continuing education is) important. It’s what we do as educators — we do what’s best for (students).”

Lankford said the school system told teachers to prepare two weeks of online and paper lessons before the state of emergency was declared. Students without internet will receive the same lessons and information as those using Google Classroom, according to Lankford. 

Some teachers were even encouraged to video record lessons and post them on Facebook. Teachers will make assignments March 25 and announce them to be ready for pickup via social media or SchoolCast.

“We looked at how can we continue to instruct or have our students continue their education from general education, to special education, to Advanced Placement,” Lankford said. “If we’re prolonged past April 6, we’ll look at some next steps as well.”

School staff will hand out learning packets in students’ respective schools’ drive-thru lines.

Lankford said the lesson plans may need continual improvement out while implemented and the school system wants parent feedback on it.

Benjamin Russell postponed its prom and is looking at makeup dates. Lankford said the school system has not talked about delaying graduation at this time.

“Those are big topics because those are very important events,” Lankford said. “We definitely want to have them. I’m anticipating us to have prom; it may just be on a later date.”

Lankford is not worried about the state’s school testing yet because he’s more focused on the next few weeks.

Lankford said the school system is receiving guidance from Alabama Department of Education and wants parents to be flexible to the state department’s constant changes in information.

“I want the parents to know we’re truly trying to plan for what’s best,” Lankford said.

The school system is also planning to continue its child nutrition program next week.

Editor’s Note: Look for a full story on the school system’s child nutrition program plan in today’s Outlook.