How Are Schools Handling Spring Semester Classes Amid COVID Fears?

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The continuing spread of COVID-19 throughout the state of Alabama has raised questions about how schools plan to go into this 2021 spring semester, which begins Jan. 19.

Several schools have altered their plans from their fall semester operations, while some are continuing with the same conditions they had before the holiday.

Particularly given the new, more infectious strain of COVID-19 that has made its way into the United States, safety precautions and social distancing measures are a top priority.

Several school districts have released statements emphasizing the importance of students’ safety. In a press release for Birmingham City Schools, Superintendent Mark A. Sullivan said, “Most educators agree that in-person learning is most effective for a majority of students, but the health and safety of our scholars, our faculty and our staff are more important.”

Here is a list of Birmingham’s schools and their reopening plans for the 2021 spring semester.

  • Alabama School of Fine Arts: ASFA students began in January with virtual classes. When they return to school Tuesday, part of the student body will begin a hybrid instruction plan with in-person and virtual classes that lasts through Feb. 12. A second portion of the students will be in the hybrid program Feb.16-March 12. Plans past that point have not been made public.
  • Alabaster City Schools: Continuing in-person and virtual learning programs. No changes since last semester.
  • Bessemer City Schools: Continuing remote learning through Jan. 20. As of Jan. 21, Bessemer schools will resume traditional and virtual classroom attendance. Wednesdays will be half days so teachers can have time to deal with virtual student issues.
  • Birmingham City Schools: Superintendent Mark A. Sullivan said all Birmingham city schools will continue with their remote teaching plan at least through January and reassess their steps and the virus’ numbers at that time.
  • Fairfield: Students resumed remote classes Jan. 6 and traditional face-to-face classes begin. Jan. 19.
  • Homewood City Schools: Schools reopened Jan. 11, with traditional students studying on campus and virtual students continuing their schedule as planned.
  • Hoover City Schools: Elementary students begin in-person classes four days a week on Jan. 19, with Wednesdays a virtual day. School officials will watch how that reopening goes and may resume middle and high school full-time on-campus classes as soon as early February.
  • Jefferson County Schools: Schools are continuing with their remote teaching plan at least through January and will reassess their steps and the virus’ numbers at that time.
  • Leeds: Sixth through 12th graders returned to school on a staggered schedule, and the schedule will be reevaluated as school officials watch the spread of COVID. Elementary students returned to in-person classes, unless they opted for remote learning.
  • Midfield: Virtual learning is continuing, but parents had the choice between virtual learning and a blended plan in which students attend school in person twice a week beginning Jan. 19.
  • Mountain Brook City Schools: MBCS resumed traditional and virtual classes Jan. 11. Elementary students are attending in-person learning five days a week, if they chose not to do remote learning. Secondary students are attending four days a week.
  • Shelby County: Virtual learning resumed Jan. 4. The school district originally had planned to return to traditional classes that day, but the plans were delayed because of the high numbers of COVID-19 cases. Now the plan is for pre-K through fifth-grade students to resume in-person classes Feb. 8, and sixth through 12th graders to resume in-person classes Feb, 22.
  • Tarrant: Students returned to traditional learning Jan. 11.
  • Trussville City Schools: No changes. Virtual and blended plans remain in effect.
  • Vestavia Hills City Schools: No changes. Virtual and traditional learning still in place.