A Message from the Superintendent on Reopening Our Schools
July 16, 2020
To Our TCSS Families, Faculty, and Staff,
In this section of our web site, you will find the Tuscaloosa County School System’s plan for Reopening Our Schools. I encourage you to read through the entire plan. I also want to thank our system leaders who have put so much work into creating this plan and updating it as we move forward. When the COVID-19 situation unfolded earlier this year, our educators began the difficult work of anticipating what this school year might look like so we would be prepared to offer options to our families. The situation we are facing is extremely challenging, and there are no perfect solutions for our schools or easy decisions for our families. As you will see in our plan, there are On-Campus and Off-Campus Learning options, so families may choose what best fits their individual situations.
Our plan operates on the belief that it is better for our students to be at school, for in-person instruction, if at all possible. We cannot eliminate all of the risks associated with COVID-19, especially in a school setting. Our plan is aimed at emphasizing the health and safety of students and staff as much as possible, with the goal of keeping our school buildings open.
As we have learned, the COVID-19 situation changes daily. We will respond to those changes by making any necessary adjustments to our plan. If the need for changes arise, we will communicate that directly to you. We ask for your patience as we continue to navigate an unknown situation, together. We also ask you to keep a close watch on all the ways you receive official communication from TCSS and from your individual school.
This school year, all of our On-Campus Learning students will participate in blended learning. Blended learning is a mix of paper and digital resources. If the need arises for a COVID-related absence or school closure, students and teachers will be better positioned to shift to remote learning until on-campus instruction can resume. Our teachers will receive professional development on blended learning in August, as well as throughout the year.
Not only are our students and their families affected by the COVID-19 situation, but we realize our educators are, as well. Leave options are in place for faculty and staff, for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
Through survey data, we believe at least 70 percent of our students plan to choose On-Campus Learning, and the great majority of our employees plan to return to their campuses. We know it is important to our TCSS community that we are able to reopen our school buildings. I ask you to help us do that by doing your part to fight the COVID-19 pandemic – practice social distancing, practice good hygiene, and wear a mask.
Even with the challenges we face, I am excited about my first school year as part of the Tuscaloosa County School System. Although it will look different than what we have known before, it is more important than ever to meet the needs of our students and provide them an outstanding education. I look forward to welcoming our students and educators back to school in August.
Keri C. Johnson, Ed.D.