county board of education

Tallapoosa County School superintendent Joe Windle, left, announced a plan to to test teachers and staff of the Tallapoosa County School system.

Tallapoosa County Schools officials are preparing lessons for the next 2 ½ weeks as all state public schools are shut down until April 6.

“I think we just need to be patient,” superintendent Joe Windle said. “There are a lot of questions that can be answered now as public health officials and the governor’s office and state department of education as we work through slowing down this virus then we’ll see where we go with the remainder of the school year in testing, graduations and sports events.”

All events with 50 or more people are recommended to be canceled for eight weeks according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so all three schools’ proms were postponed and no decision about graduations were made.

Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency Friday and all public schools will close Thursday through April 6. Tallapoosa County Schools will also miss Monday through Wednesday due to the regularly scheduled spring break.

School days will not be made up an e-learning is not requires during the shutdown, according to state superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey. But Tallapoosa County Schools plans to continue educating students through technology and take home folders, according to Windle.

“Continuing instruction and learning during these breaks is the responsibility of (each local school board),” Windle said.

The schools are preparing printed lessons for kindergarten through sixth-grade classes and Chromebook lessons for seventh-through 12th-grade classes. Students without internet access will receive printed lessons the same as the online lessons, according to Windle. The online resources that get used will be the same printed off ones for those without internet, according to Windle.

“The online learning involves a lot of different resources that different companies are making available for us to use,” Windle said. “Those online learning involved in grades seven through 12, they’ll take their guidance from teachers.”

Monday, staff will meet and print lessons, which ill need to be picked up by parents in a drive-thru line from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The lessons are planned for five days of instruction next week.

Windle said staff will be minimized to about 10 to 14 people at a time to maintain social distancing.

“We’ll scale down,” Windle said. “That meeting on Monday is to supply resources that will be needed in those packets but it will not involve the entire staff and faculties — just what they need to get the reading sources.”

The school board has not discussed state testing or graduation.

“The major testing still (is) scheduled during the month of April,” Windle said. “We really don’t know where we’re going with that.”

Windle said the school system is following the state department and governor’s office’s guidance, which is constantly changing.

“We’re waiting on guidance from the state department once we get though this first phase from March 23 to April 6,” Windle said. “The guidance changes daily and it’s a time that’s unprecedented in our history but those questions will all be answered as the (U.S. Department of Education) in Washington (D.C.) determines requirements over the next two months.”

The school system will post updates on its social media platforms and SchoolCast, which can call those without internet, according to Windle. 

“Just be patient and just watch for our platforms and we’ll make it through this crisis because we have a good plan,” Windle said. 

All schools will continue their child nutrition program Monday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. 

Editor’s Note: See the full story on the Alexander City and Tallapoosa County school’s child nutrition program in today’s Outlook.