Students to Return School Daily
Starting October 19
The Tuscaloosa City Schools will return to in-person instruction five days a week for students districtwide, starting October 19.
Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria previewed the decision at the Tuesday night board meeting in which he stated the decision to delay the return to in-person instruction for one week was the result of conversations with local medical professionals.
"One of the things that we set out to do was to consult with our local medical professionals," said Daria. "What I said last night was that in one of those conversations, a local expert acknowledged an unexplained uptick in COVID infections and asked us to consider delaying the return for one week."
Daria said he will consult with local experts at the end of the week and provide a status update to families.
Our commitment has always return students to our buildings. Our process to return to this model of education has been slow and deliberate, starting with full time virtual for all and then later transitioning to the staggered approach.
Throughout this process we have:
- Delayed in-person instruction so we could provide students and staff the opportunity to practice new safety procedures.
- Followed the Alabama Department of Public Health Toolkit for guidance on safer practices
- Conducted and broadcasted a panel of local and state experts on this issue
- Provided additional Personal Protective Equipment to staff
- Released the TCS COVID Tracker, the state's only real-time K-12 data dashboard
The decisions made in this plan are informed by the following:
- local health conditions
- input from DCH specific to rates and availability to serve our community
- input from the Alabama Department of Public Health
- individual school staff absences
- individual school student absences
- input from City representatives
While we cannot guarantee the elimination of risk due to COVID-19, we will work to minimize it through the promotion of good hand hygiene practices, the requirement of face coverings for all individuals, in all facilities and the practicing of social distancing to the extent possible. Please note that we are not able to ensure social distancing when we return full time. We will rely on the ADPH Toolkit to make decisions regarding quarantine and isolation.