1. Will Muscle Shoals offer in-person, virtual, and hybrid course offerings this spring? Yes,
but parents will have to choose by December 20th. 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 next school year. 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. Our buildings will be fogged at least twice weekly. Our nurses also have handheld foggers that they will utilize as needed after any possible school exposures. We will continue to follow recommendations 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.
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? Yes, if they are older than 6 years. We will follow the orders issued by Governor Kay Ivey.
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 spring? 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.