Schools keep pushing to stay in-person

Slocomb Elementary
Slocomb Elementary(WTVY)
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:05 PM CST
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GENEVA COUNTY, Ala. (WTVY) - Alongside other school districts in the Wiregrass, Geneva County is pushing to keep students in school.

Their staff is stepping up to the plate to keep the Chromebooks and packets tucked away.

Becky Birdsong, Superintendent of Geneva County Schools says, “We have administrators covering and I’ve told our principals that the central office will come cover classes.”

One new feature this year at Geneva County Schools are intervention teachers, who are also filling in regular classrooms when needed.

“That’s a great fit because obviously they’re certified teachers, familiar with the school, and they can just pick up right where the teacher who’s out left off,” explains Birdsong.

It’s the little things that are helping keep students in school.

Birdsong continues, “I will say that the five days that we require people to stay out and then come back with a mask has definitely helped the situation.”

The district is encouraging parents who have COVID-positive family members in the home to contact the school nurse.

“We are asking close contacts in the home to quarantine,” expresses Birdsong. “We’re not sending home those from school, but we from home we are asking because we’ve seen a much higher rate of positivity and transfer in the home.”

All in an effort to end the 2021-2022 school year normal.

“We learned from the shut down in 2020 that virtual school doesn’t really work and it’s hard for parents to pick up where the teacher left off, and our teachers did a great job of offering online lessons and things like that, but there’s no replacement for a teacher in a classroom who’s been trained to work with students,” finishes Birdsong.

If staffing issues get out of their control, the district plans to only shut down specific schools where that’s happened, rather than the entire district.

Birdsong says they have several teachers who are choosing to mask up, as well as a significant number of staff who are vaccinated.

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