Previous Updates from TCSS on Monitoring and Prevention of COVID-19

  • This page provides previous updates from TCSS on our response to coronavirus/COVID-19. For the latest update from TCSS, please visit the page in this section that provides the latest update from TCSS.

    ********************************

    April 5, 2020

    Dear Families, 

    Let me begin by saying that our entire staff of over 2,200 educators shares your great disappointment in being unable to complete the 2019-2020 school year within our buildings and working closely with your children. The final nine weeks period is one that is filled with many extensions of learning through field trips, culminating activities from units of study, athletic contests, fine arts performances, awards programs, proms, and yes, senior graduation. In order to be able to support student learning at home for this final period, our school system has developed our TCSS Academic Continuity Plan. (Please click the linked file to see the entire plan.)

    As our school system team has met and developed these plans and considered the last nine weeks of the year, we realize that our planning must extend much further. Please know that our efforts are being focused on three phases of work.

    1. Providing educational resources to all families and a plan for all to complete the 2019-2020 academic year in the best manner possible.
    2. Preparing for summer learning opportunities for students who may have fallen behind or need that extra attention to be ready for the 2020-2021 school year. At this time, we have no way of knowing whether or not we will be allowed to provide any type of summer programs. However, although summer learning opportunities may be limited, plans are being developed in the event we are able to do so.
    3. Designing intensive efforts for the 2020-2021 school year. This includes quick and early assessments of students upon their return; focuses instruction on critical content standards; provides timely intervention as needed; and maximizes instructional time. Fortunately, our instructional work in the Tuscaloosa County School System is guided through professional learning communities of teachers who already understand the strength of collaboration and planning in content-alike teams. This work will allow our teachers to close gaps and recover lost instructional time as we return to school this fall.

    A high priority in our planning has been for seniors in the Class of 2020. There is specific information for seniors who will be deemed to have completed all requirements of the Alabama State Department of Education for graduation and how we will work to assist those who may not be on track to graduate. Information about graduation ceremonies is also includes in our Academic Continuity Plan. 

    Parents and families, let me say how much we appreciate you, your children, and the support you give our schools every day. While we may not be ending the school year as any of us had hoped, I am confident that we will come out on the other side of this event stronger and our children will have a very bright future. Thank you for your patience and please continue to practice safe and healthy habits during this critical period.

    Sincerely, 

    Walter W. Davie, Ed.D.

    Superintendent

     

    ********************************

    March 31, 2020

    Dear TCSS Families,

    I hope you are staying safe and well during this time. Although our educators are disappointed that we will not return to a traditional school setting this year, we value nothing more than the health and safety of our TCSS community. During this time, I encourage you to practice the healthy habits and social distancing that medical experts say is so important right now. And even though our school buildings are closed, TCSS is moving forward together.

    Right now, our educators are working hard to finalize the pieces of our Academic Continuity Plan, which takes effect Monday, April 6, and runs through the end of our school year. Throughout this week, we will share many more details of the plan and answer the questions I know you have. However, I want to go ahead and share some key points with you.

     

    • Guidance from the Alabama State Department of Education gives TCSS flexibility in designing an Academic Continuity Plan that works best for our school system. Our plan involves blended learning – primarily paper packets of learning materials, supplemented by online resources for those who have access. However, devices and the ability to access the internet will not be required for students to continue learning.

     

    • Even though our students will be at home for the remainder of the school year, the learning will still be teacher-led. Families, you are not in this alone! I know many of our families and students are dealing with a great deal of stress and anxiety right now. Please know our intention is not to add to the stress you are already feeling. We want to provide resources to keep our students engaged, promote learning, and maintain our connection with our students and families.

     

    • The packets and materials students receive will be selected by their teachers and created by their individual schools. Schools will provide information about how students will receive the packets. In addition, Homework Help Lines will be available at each school, and teachers will make direct contact by phone with students and families, on a continuing basis. Much more information is to come on the specifics of all of this. Be sure you’re watching our TCSS web site, listening to automated phone calls, and monitoring all the ways your school typically communicates with you.

     

    • The packets and learning materials students receive will target critical learning standards for each grade/course, which is determined by the Alabama State Department of Education. We will provide more information about these standards to our families.

     

    • The plan will provide resources for English Language Learners and Special Education students.

     

    • Although our faculty and staff members are working from home when possible, our Academic Continuity Plan will require faculty and staff to be in school buildings for essential duties to serve students. We are using staggered work schedules and promoting social distancing at all times, keeping these needs in mind as we develop our Academic Continuity Plan. Not only are we concerned about the health of our students, but also our faculty and staff.

     

    • We are continuing our Grab & Go Meals. These meals are free to anyone age 18 and under, who is present to receive the meals. Continue to watch our web site for any updates on times and locations.

     

    • Within our Academic Continuity Plan will also be counseling, social work, and mental health resources for students. We realize many of our students rely on our schools for these services, and we are working to continue meeting these needs, especially during this time.

     

    • Although this is a difficult time for all of us, I know it comes with added disappointment for our seniors. Seniors are a priority to us, and our Academic Continuity Plan will address specific concerns for this year’s graduating class. If we are not able to have graduation ceremonies on the scheduled dates, schools will hold graduation ceremonies this summer, if we are able to hold large gatherings safely at that time. Right now, it is just too early to know those plans, but it is important to us to celebrate our graduating seniors however we are able to do so.

     

    • Until we begin providing Academic Continuity Plan materials on Monday, there are resources available at tcss.net/covid19, for review and reinforcement. And remember, one of the most important things our students can do through all of this, at all grade levels, is keep reading!

     

    There is much more information headed your way about the details of our Academic Continuity Plan, and we will continue to roll out information and answer questions as we go. Also, please continue to check our FAQ section of this site, as we add information there on a continual basis.

    Remember, even though our school buildings are closed, we are moving forward together!

    Sincerely,

    Walter Davie, Ed.D.

    Superintendent

    *****************************************

    Marzo 31, 2020 

    Estimadas familias de TCSS,

    Espero que se mantengan bien durante este tiempo. Aunque nuestros educadores están decepcionados de que no volvamos a un entorno escolar tradicional este año, no valoramos nada más que la salud y la seguridad de nuestra comunidad TCSS. Durante este tiempo, les deseo que practiquen hábitos saludables y el distanciamiento social que los expertos médicos dicen que es tan importante en este momento. Y aunque nuestros edificios escolares están cerrados, TCSS está avanzando juntos hacia el futuro.

    En este momento, nuestros educadores están trabajando muy duro para finalizar las piezas de nuestro Plan de Continuidad Académica, que entra en vigor el lunes 6 de abril y se extiende hasta el final de nuestro año escolar. A lo largo de esta semana, compartiremos muchos más detalles del plan y responderemos a las preguntas que sé que tienen. Sin embargo, quiero seguir adelante y compartir algunos puntos con ustedes.

    • La orientación del Departamento de Educación del Estado de Alabama da a TCSS flexibilidad en el diseño de un Plan de Continuidad Académica que funcione mejor para nuestro sistema escolar. Nuestro plan consiste en el aprendizaje mixto, principalmente paquetes de materiales de aprendizaje, complementados con recursos en línea para aquellos que tienen acceso a la Internet. Sin embargo, los dispositivos y la capacidad de acceder a Internet no serán necesarios para que los estudiantes continúen aprendiendo.

     

    • A pesar de que nuestros estudiantes estarán en casa por el resto del año escolar, el aprendizaje seguirá siendo dirigido por los maestros. ¡Familias, no están solos en esto! Sé que muchas de nuestras familias y estudiantes están lidiando con una gran cantidad de estrés y ansiedad en este momento. Por favor, sepa que nuestra intención no es aumentar el estrés que ya está sintiendo. Queremos proporcionar recursos para mantener a nuestros estudiantes comprometidos, promover el aprendizaje y mantener nuestra conexión con nuestros estudiantes y familias.

     

    • Los paquetes y materiales que recibirán los estudiantes serán seleccionados por sus maestros y serán creados por sus escuelas individuales. Los paquetes estarán disponibles para ser recogidos en las escuelas y a través de entregas de autobuses en las paradas del autobús. Además, las líneas de ayuda de las tareas estarán disponibles en cada escuela, y los maestros harán contacto directo por teléfono con los estudiantes y las familias continuamente. Muchas más informaciones están por venir sobre los detalles de todo esto. Asegúrese de que este viendo nuestro sitio del web de TCSS, escuchando llamadas telefónicas automatizadas y monitoreando todas las formas en que su escuela normalmente se comunica con usted.

     

    • Los paquetes y materiales de aprendizaje que recibirán los estudiantes serán los temas críticos de aprendizaje para cada grado/curso, que es determinado por el Departamento de Educación del Estado de Alabama. Proporcionaremos más información sobre estas normas a nuestras familias.

     

    • El plan proporcionará recursos para estudiantes de inglés y estudiantes de educación especial.

     

    • Aunque nuestra facultad y miembros del personal están trabajando desde su casa, nuestro Plan de Continuidad Académica requerirá que las facultades y el personal estén en edificios escolares para las tareas esenciales para poder servir a los estudiantes. Estamos utilizando horarios de trabajo coordinados promoviendo el distanciamiento social en todo momento, teniendo en cuenta estas necesidades a medida que desarrollamos nuestro Plan de Continuidad Académica. No sólo estamos preocupados por la salud de nuestros estudiantes, sino también por nuestra facultad y personal.

     

    • Continuamos con nuestras comidas Agarrar e Irse. Estas comidas son gratuitas para cualquier persona menor de 18 años, que esté presente para recibir las comidas. Continúe viendo nuestro sitio del web para cualquier actualización sobre horarios y ubicaciones.

     

    • Dentro de nuestro Plan de Continuidad Académica también habrá consejería, trabajo social y recursos de salud mental para los estudiantes. Nos damos cuenta de que muchos de nuestros estudiantes confían en nuestras escuelas para este servicio, y estamos trabajando para seguir satisfaciendo estas necesidades, especialmente durante este tiempo.

     

    • Aunque este es un momento difícil para todos nosotros, sé que viene con una decepción adicional para nuestros estudiantes que terminan sus cursos este año. Estos estudiantes tienen una prioridad con nosotros y nuestro Plan de Continuidad Académica abordará las preocupaciones específicas para la clase de graduación de este año. Si no podemos tener ceremonias de graduación en las fechas programadas, las escuelas celebraran las ceremonias de graduación este verano, si somos capaces de realizar grandes reuniones de forma segura en ese momento. En este momento, es demasiado pronto para conocer esos planes, pero es importante para nosotros celebrar el último año de nuestros estudiantes graduados y sabemos que somos capaces de hacerlo.

     

    • Hasta que comencemos a proporcionar materiales del Plan de Continuidad Académica el lunes, hay recursos disponibles en el web de tcss.net/covid19, para revisión y refuerzo. ¡Y recuerden, una de las cosas más importantes que nuestros estudiantes pueden hacer a través de todo esto, en todos los niveles de grado, es seguir leyendo!

     

    Hay mucha más información encaminada esta semana sobre los detalles de nuestro Plan de Continuidad Académica, y continuaremos implementando información y respondiendo preguntas a medida que avanzamos. Además, por favor continúe revisando nuestra sección de preguntas frecuentes en el web, ya que agregamos información allí de forma continua.

    Recuerde, a pesar de que nuestros edificios escolares están cerrados, ¡Estamos avanzando juntos!

    Sinceramente,

    Walter Davie, Ed.D.

    Superintendente

     

    **********************************************

    March 26, 2020

    Dear TCSS Families,

    Along with many of you, we learned just this afternoon that our students will not be returning to our school buildings this year. Also along with you, our administrators, teachers, and support staff are extremely disappointed, and we realize the implications this has for our families and community. However, we want you to know the Tuscaloosa County School System is with you moving forward. Right now, there are many unknowns, but in conjunction with the State Department of Education, our educators will work quickly to create a plan to continue our all of our students’ education. Please visit our TCSS web site in the coming days as we work to answer many questions and keep our families updated on how we will continue to serve our students. We will also communicate with you by phone calls and any other communication methods your school uses. Although this is devastating news for many of us, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our TCSS community. We will work through this and get through this together.

    Sincerely,


    Walter Davie, Ed.D.

    Superintendent

    ******************************************

    March 25, 2020

    Dear TCSS Families, Faculty, and Staff,

    Even with so many rapid changes and concerns developing over the past week, we hope our families were able to have some enjoyable time during Spring Break. We may not be together at our schools, but I want to assure you the Tuscaloosa County School System is still with you and here to support you, during this time of social distancing. The coronavirus situation continues to evolve quickly, and it is unlike anything we have experienced before. Therefore, our system’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) school closure will be continual, and we will introduce new measures of support to our families as we develop them. Our TCSS leaders and school administrators will all work together on our plan of support.  

    As new resources are available to our families, they will be added to our tcss.net/covid19 web site. I encourage you to check this site frequently for updates. When developments warrant, we will place a call and/or send you a text through our automated messaging system. This system uses phone numbers that have been provided to us by parents and guardians. Currently on our site you will find: 

    • a list of frequently asked questions regarding the school closure and coronavirus response.
    • reinforcement and review packets for students in grades Pre-K through 5. Resources for students in grades 6 – 12 and for English Language Learners will soon be added.
    • online learning resources for students in grades Pre-K through 8 and English Language Learners.
    • a list of resources to find timely, expert information regarding coronavirus and slowing the spread of the virus.
    • details, locations, and times of our Grab & Go free breakfast and lunch service. These meals are free to anyone age 18 and under and available at more than two dozen locations across our county. On just the first day of service, our employees and volunteers served more than 6,500 meals across all locations!

    In addition to resources provided by the school system, your individual school may provide other resources for reinforcement and review of skills during the school closure. Please stay connected with your schools through any of the methods your school typically communicates with families (school web sites, school social media channels, classroom apps, automated phone calls, etc.) to receive this information during the school closure.

    The Governor has ordered all Alabama public schools to be closed through Friday, April 3, with a target reopening date of Monday, April 6. The State Superintendent of Education has informed local school systems that we will know prior to April 3 if we will be allowed to reopen on April 6. If we are not able to reopen April 6, our plan of support for families will continue.

    Many of you are also aware that TCSS is currently conducting a search for the next Superintendent and Chief School Financial Officer. Earlier this year, I announced my upcoming retirement effective May 31, and CSFO Mr. Danny Higdon announcement his upcoming retirement on March 31. Considering the current circumstances, Mr. Higdon and I have both offered to delay our retirements, and the Board of Education has accepted our offers. With the coronavirus pandemic and so many unknowns at this time, neither of us wanted to put the school system in a difficult situation, or leave the Board with an unreasonable timeline to find successors. You can learn more about this in the News & Annoucements section of our web site.

    While we are all navigating through this difficult time, I encourage our families to focus on the healthy practices and social distancing that health experts say will slow the spread of coronavirus. Please reinforce this with your children, and help them understand this situation that is confusing for them, too. Know that our teachers, administrators, and support staff miss your children, and we all look forward to the time when we are back in school together.

     

    Sincerely,

    Walter W. Davie, Ed.D.

    Superintendent

     

    **********************************************

    March 23, 2020

    Please visit the Grab & Go Breakfast and Lunch page for details on our meal service during the school closure. This begins Monday, March 23. These meals are free and available to anyone age 18 and under. Every child in the vehicle or at the walk-up site will receive the meals. Also, TCSS will communicate more information this week about plans to support learning during the school closure.

    ***********************************************

    March 13, 2020 - 7:20 p.m.

    TCSS Families, Faculty, and Staff,

    I know many of you are aware of the Governor’s annoucement this afternoon that all public schools in Alabama will be closed Thursday, March 19, through Friday, April 3, 2020. For TCSS, our plans for Spring Break remain in place for the week of March 16 - March 20. Therefore, our schools will effectively be closed March 16 through April 3.

    During the period of closure, there will be no school activites of any kind, including athletic practices and events. All schools and the central office will be closed.

    According to Alabama’s State Superintendent of Education, state education and health officials will assess the current COVID-19 situation in our state during the last week of the closure. At that time, they will determine if schools will be able to reopen on Monday, April 6.

    I know this is unexpected for many of us, and creates a disruption to our normal routine, concerns for our families, and disappointment for students over canceled activites. However, state leaders made clear in today’s annoucement that this closure is a proactive and important step in slowing the transmission of the novel coronavirus, with the goal of lessening the impact on our state and community. As our state health and education officials stressed in today’s annoucement, it is important to use this time to avoid large gatherings and continue the healthy practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. 

    Other important items to remember:

    • Schools and school systems must report to the State any information about a student or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19. If any of our students, families, faculty, or staff members test positive for COVID-19, we ask you to notify us by sending an email to report@tcss.net. Please be sure to include: (a) your full name; and (b) the name of your school. This is important in keeping our school communties safe and reducing the spread of the virus.
    • If any our our students, faculty, or staff members travel overseas, please also notify us by sending an email to report@tcss.net. Please be sure to include: (a) your full name; and (b) the name of your school. Guidance from the CDC, regarding those who travel to areas with active transmission of the virus, remains in place.
    • Since the Governor has declared a State of Emergency, the days we miss during this closure will not have to be made up.
    • All earlier guidance remains in place through April 30, 2020. There will be no field trips in or out of state at least through April 30. This includes travel for any athletic event.

    During Spring Break and the closure, we will update this site with any new information we need to communicate to our school communities.

    Although the specific circumstances of this situation are new, our state and community has faced hardship before. Each time, we have emerged stronger and more prepared for the next challenge to come our way. This closure provides us an opportunity to promote the health and well-being of our own families, and also that of our friends and neighbors. Our school system leadership will be monitoring the COVID-19 situation throughout the closure, and we look forward to seeing our students, faculty, and staff back in school as soon as safely possible.

     

    Sincerely,

    Walter W. Davie, Ed.D.

    Superintendent