Jefferson County Schools will begin accepting students back onto campuses in just more than a week.
Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin announced on Facebook Thursday that the system would resume traditional learning starting Sept. 21. Grades will have staggered starts on the in-person learning. Students will go to class two days a week at first. Wednesdays will be set aside for remote learning for children and cleaning schools for staff. After two weeks, they will transition to five days a week.
Students who want to may continue with virtual learning.
The change will begin with pre-K and exceptional education students. Students with last names beginning with the letters A to L will attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and students with last names beginning with the letters M to Z will attend school in person on Thursdays and Fridays. On Oct. 5, they will resume five-day-a-week classes.
The next group to begin, kindergarten and elementary students, will begin twice-a-week classes on Sept. 28 and go back for five days a week on Oct. 12.
Students in grades sixth through 12th will begin twice-a-week classes Oct. 5 and will return to a full schedule Oct. 19.
Gonsoulin said it had been the intention of the school board to begin returning students to classrooms slowly during the first nine-week session.
Masks will be required for faculty, staff and K-12 students, and they are highly encouraged for pre-K students. Transportation will be provided for students.
“We are going to do everything possible to keep students, teachers and staff safe during our return,” Gonsoulin said in a statement on Facebook. “However, flexibility is going to be key.”
The Hoover and Shelby County school systems, which have had students attending in person for two days a week, also have announced they will move to five days a week on campus, Shelby on Sept. 14 and Hoover on Sept. 21, though Hoover is rethinking that position as COVID cases creep up in the area.