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Talladega city schools sets learning model with remote learning, then blended schedule

Chamber coffee-bc.jpg

AIDB President Dr. John Mascia, Tallaedega City Superintendent Dr. Quentin Lee, and First Bank President Chad Jones talk during the Talladega Chamber coffee at Talladega Bottling Works Thursday.

TALLADEGA — Talladega City Schools students will be returning to remote learning the day after Labor Day (Sept. 6), stay at home for the next nine days, then return to the blended learning model starting Sept. 17.

Superintendent Dr. Quentin Lee cited the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases throughout Alabama, and urged the board to be “proactive in looking out for the safety of our students, our staff, their families and the communities we serve.” The board approved his recommendation 5-0 during a called meeting Friday morning.

Starting Sept. 7, all city school students will be placed on remote learning, Lee said. They will still receive instruction from their teachers, but will do so online. Schedules will be provided for each student by their school, and will still be required to complete assignments and participate in class. School buses equipped with wifi hotspots will be parked strategically throughout the city to help guarantee access.

In a printed statement distributed after the meeting, Lee said, “We ask that during the remote learning phase that parents work with students to ensure they are completing assignments. Attendance will be kept by each teacher and marked for grading purposes. We also ask that families continue to practice guidelines as set forth by the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the Alabama Department of public health.”

Sports and other extracurricular activities will continue as scheduled for the time being.

“If it gets to the point where it is no longer safe, that will change,” Lee said. “But right now they will continue.”

The delay in switching over to remote learning is intended to help give parents time to make arrangements while their children are out of school, he added.

“Our foundations are all set, we’re ready to go, but the parents need time to get things in place first,” Lee said.

On Sept. 20, students will return to in-person classes two days a week. Each student will be assigned either to Group A, which will attend in-person classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Group B, which will attend classes on Thursdays and Fridays.Unless something changes, the blended model will continue for the remainder of the semester.

Wednesdays, according to the written release, will be reserved for “remediation, intervention, additional support and missing assignments.”

Students will be told which group they have been assigned to on Monday.

Lee said the system will continue to provide meals for students during both the remote and blended phases. During remote learning, the Child Nutrition Program will provide five free breakfasts and lunches per week each Wednesday. Pickup times will be announced by each school Monday.

During the blended phase, free meals will be provided three days a week.

The learning model will still be subject to change depending on the progress of the disease in the community.

“Safety of our students and families is a top priority,” Lee said. “We will meet weekly as a district to assess the spread of COVID-19 and the safety of our students. We will continue to make decisions in the best interests of our students, families and employees. If there is a need to modify our plan, we will let the community know as soon as possible.”

Also Friday, the board:

—Hired Deborah Coleman, Tiffany THomas and Tyneisha Tillery as itinerant special education instructional assistants.

—Transferred Brenda Sprayberry from four hour to five hour bus driver.

—Accepted NaShonda Whitson’s resignation as Talladega High School junior varsity head cheerleading coach only.

—Accepted the resignation of SAI JROTC instructor and drill team sponsor Patricia Cathey.

—Hired Phyllis Seals as mental health service coordinator system-wide.

—Hired Diann Whitson as parent involvement specialist system-wide.

—Approved a memorandum of understanding between the Talladega Police Department and the school system.

—Approved a contract for Nancy Cooper for special education services.