COVID19 Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Will Muscle Shoals offer in-person, virtual, and hybrid course offerings this fall? Yes,
    but parents will have to choose by July 15th which educational option they prefer for their
    children and make a semester-long commitment. Students will not be able to weave in and out
    of in-person learning. A student who chooses the virtual option will remain virtual for at least
    one semester with the option to return to in-person learning in January. The most confusing
    aspect of the state’s Roadmap for Reopening is the “hybrid” option, which does not have a
    common definition across the state. Our local definition of “hybrid” is that in-person learning
    will have virtual/digital components. It does not mean that a student can choose in-person and
    virtual at the same time in a single course, moving in and out of that course as they choose. The
    only exception to that would be a student who is forced to quarantine after a positive COVID19
    test or an exposure. A student who is quarantined will be permitted to return to in-person
    learning when safe to do so.


    2. Will Muscle Shoals have increased cleaning protocols? Yes. During a typical flu season,
    our schools are fogged for germs twice a week. When school opens in the fall, we will increase
    fogging to a daily routine until further notice from the Alabama Department of Public Health and
    district leadership.

    3. Will my child get to eat in the cafeteria or have P.E.? This one is a little trickier to answer.
    Our meal service will consist mainly of “grab and go” and/or pre-boxed meals to start school.
    The traditional “buffet style” where everyone touches the same serving spoon will not be
    permitted. Principals are currently considering ways that students can eat in the cafeterias,
    perhaps at 50% capacity like restaurants are doing now with workers wearing masks and facial
    shields. This may not be possible at every school but know we are considering ways to do that,
    such as a rotating schedule. We do intend to offer P.E., but like the cafeteria, we are considering
    alternatives to traditional (large) P.E. classes. We are making plans for smaller classes in the
    gyms, on playgrounds, and trying to keep a particular group of students together and separate
    from other classes of children.

    4. What about crowds and athletic events? The more we can limit interaction with other
    people, the better we can mitigate the spread of the virus. This type of thinking goes for any
    program or event that is crowded or congested. I have charged principals with thinking on
    everything they do that involves a crowd or congestion, and I have told them to either 1) do it
    differently or 2) don’t do it at all. This includes parent night, meet the teacher, fall festivals,
    concerts, school orientations, etc. For the time being, I am suspending all daytime student
    assemblies where social distancing cannot be achieved. We are evaluating our protocols for
    crowds at athletic events as we await guidance from the AHSAA, which will meet again on July
    7 th on the status of athletics. At present, the athletic association is preparing for fall sports, but
    expect changes with regard to the health guidelines we are observing in other areas of our lives.

    5. Will health precautions be taken on school buses? Yes. Our buses will be sanitized daily
    just like our classrooms. On days when the weather is nice, students will be allowed
    (encouraged) to walk to and from the Muscle Shoals Career Academy with proper supervision as
    they cross Brown Street. In inclement weather, our buses will make additional trips if necessary
    if crowding on the bus is an issue. Hand sanitizer will be available, and students will be
    encouraged to wear a mask while riding the bus. Having a mask available and wearing it on our
    short in-system routes is an easy thing that we can do to help slow the spread of the virus.

    6. What other health precautions are the schools taking? Will the school take
    temperatures every morning? We will not take every child’s temperature to start the day. The
    screening process begins at home with parents checking temperatures daily. A child with a
    temperature of 100.4 shall remain at home and will not be permitted to return to school for 72
    hours after the temperature is back to normal. When students feel well enough to complete
    assignments at home, learning will continue using virtual/digital tools. Additionally, our staffs
    will be trained to identify the signs and symptoms of COVID19. We have purchased additional
    contactless thermometers and other nursing supplies and will increase screenings at school. Well
    kids who come to the nurse to take daily medications will report to different areas from those
    exhibiting any symptoms of sickness.

    7. Will the school limit visitors to campuses? Yes. Per state health guidelines, schools will
    limit non-school personnel from entering our buildings and interacting with our students.
    Parents and guardians are encouraged to conduct school business via phone or email as much as
    possible. For the time being, we will restrict parents/grandparents and others from coming to eat
    lunch with their children and/or family members attending class parties. Our hope is that these
    restrictions are short-lived, but they are necessary for the health and safety of our children. We
    love visitors, but this is one of those sacrifices we need to make in the age of COVID19.

    8. Will my child have to wear a mask at school? No, but they are certainly welcome (and
    encouraged) to do so. Our employees, in certain close situations, will wear masks and/or facial
    shields. Students, however, will not be required to mask. I would recommend that students
    bring their own mask so that they can place it on if they find themselves in a crowded situation.

    9. What about field trips? For the time being, I am suspending all daytime field trips. This is
    another one of those sacrifices that we need to make right now until it is safe to resume class
    field trips. At present, this does not include athletics, band, or other after school travel that may
    occur in conjunction with a contest or performance. We are continuing to digest the state’s
    guidance on bus transportation and consider what other changes, if any, we need to make.

    10. Will arrival and dismissal be different this fall? Yes, our principals are considering this
    question and making plans to alleviate crowding and congestion at the beginning and end of the
    school day. This includes traffic, as well as, assembling in gyms, cafeterias, and hallways where
    social distancing may be difficult as students arrive and/or leave. They will communicate more
    about this topic as we draw closer to the start of school, but this is one of those areas where an
    abundance of patience, cooperation, and understanding will be necessary.