news

Thursday afternoon, Gov. Kay Ivey made the announcement Alabama public schools would be shut down for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

This is an extension of her earlier announcement schools would be closed until April 6.

"We had hoped at that time we were taking cautious steps and we would be able to welcome students back into our classrooms," Ivey said at a press conference Thursday. "However, the virus continues to spread. ... We are working on a way to allow instruction from home starting April 6 for the remainder of the school year.

"This decision has not been made lightly. It has been made with a tremendous amount of concern and discussion."

Ivey said that viewers need to take the spread of the coronavirus seriously, which is what aided in this decision.

"We must be serious about eliminating the spread of this virus," Ivey said. "Public health orders are not suggestions. They have been put in place to save our lives. Folks, this is for real. This is a deadly situation."

Locally, both Tallapoosa County superintendent Joe Windle and Alexander City Schools superintendent Dr. Keith Lankford were not surprised by the news but know this creates some unknown challenges.

"Of course it's sad but the safety of our kids comes first and foremost," Lankford said. "It's going to be a challenge for everyone but a great learning experience as well."

Windle said, "This is certainly no surprise. I think we had anticipated this for the last week that we would not go back to a traditional school setting April 6."

Online learning and internet availability will be among the top concerns in the coming weeks as students and teachers prepare for a new platform of education.

"It's going to take the teachers and the parents, all of us working together," Lankford said.

For the full story, pick up Friday's Outlook.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.