CCBOE: Most 6th-12th-grade students switching to hybrid schedule Nov. 2

Cullman Tribune file photo

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman County Schools on Wednesday announced that all middle and high school students (grades 6-12), except for sixth-grade students attending Cold Springs Elementary, Parkside and Harmony, will transition to a hybrid schedule beginning Monday, Nov. 2 and lasting through at least Thanksgiving break. The move is due to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in schools and in the community. No specific numbers were given.

Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette made the announcement Wednesday morning in a letter to parents.

“I want to begin by expressing my sincerest gratitude toward everyone that has worked hard to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC. At the beginning of school, I prayed that our number of positive and exposed students and staff members would remain low and not cause a change to our instructional schedule. We have had a great outpouring of support for our schools and students during this time of uncertainty. Please know, it is my sincere desire to be in school face-to-face,” he said. “However, despite our best efforts to enforce wearing masks and social distancing, our community and school cases have continued to rise.”

He continued, “On Monday, November 2, 2020, Cullman County Schools will transition to a hybrid schedule for middle and high school students because they cannot remain in static groups.  This includes all 6th-12th grade students except the sixth-grade students attending Cold Springs Elementary, Parkside and Harmony. These three schools have smaller class sizes and maintain static groups.  All K-5 students will continue to attend traditional school four days a week. Students with a last name beginning with letters A-K will attend school on Monday and Tuesday, and students with a last name beginning with the letters L-Z will attend school on Thursday and Friday. Households with multiple last names will follow the last name of the oldest child. Wednesday will continue to be our virtual learning day.

“As of now, this hybrid schedule will continue until November 20th, when  students  and employees are dismissed for Thanksgiving. During that time, a decision will be made to either extend the hybrid schedule or resume our four-day a week schedule. During this hybrid schedule, sporting events will be affected as Cullman County Schools will strictly follow the AHSAA guidelines and best practices.

“We know this change will create many challenges for our families. It is with a heavy heart that this decision is necessary at this time and was made after careful consideration and consultation. Our top priority is always the safety of students and employees while attending school.

“I humbly ask that you remain vigilant and follow the guidelines to ensure the safety of our students as we work toward attending school in a more traditional manner. During this hybrid schedule, we encourage families to pick up meals for the week at any school cafeteria on Wednesdays from 10-12.”

Barnette further explained to The Tribune that while specific numbers probably won’t be released, many students have been quarantined due to possible exposure. As for athletics, he said the changes will limit the capacity at events. He said more information will be shared.

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Wendy Sack