Return to classrooms planned for January 11
By Lisa Brody
Full-day in-person learning is scheduled to return for K-8 students in Birmingham Public Schools on Monday, January 11, followed by the return of high school students on Monday, January 19, provided there are no drastic COVID-19 spikes or state restrictions, the Birmingham Schools Board of Education announced at their meeting on Tuesday, December 15.
In a presentation from interim superintendent George Heitch, a recommendation was made to continue in its hybrid educational form of some in-person learning combined with some virtual, with a shift from a.m./p.m. cohorts, where students went half-days, to students attending two full-days a week and having one day each week being virtual for all elementary, middle school, BCS and high school students. The presentation said this format will increase instruction time, cohort alignment, solve transportation challenges, and long-term transition planning.
Families continue to be able to choose an all-virtual learning option.
Board members said their decision-making was aided by survey data that reinforced the need to consider other factors outside of COVID-19 only health statistics in back to the classroom decisions, while still keeping that vital. Other considerations involved were students' emotional and mental wellbeing; consistency of learning; academic support and growth of students struggling with virtual learning; food and childcare needs; and adult supervision challenges around at-home learning.