By Joshua Huff, sports editor
CLAY – Clay-Chalkville Middle School teachers will bid farewell to their students on Thursday in a unique sendoff.
The middle school posted on Instagram Wednesday night that a number of teachers will drive through local neighborhoods on Thursday morning starting at 10 a.m. in what amounts to a goodbye caravan.
“If you see them, feel free to step outside and wave, but please remember to keep social distancing in mind,” the school posted. “Your teachers miss you and love you.”
The gesture is meant as a final sendoff for students who are now tasked with continuing their academic year online. Teachers in Moody did the same thing on Wednesday afternoon.
Moody teachers came rolling through the neighborhood this afternoon to see the kids.
— Kyle Parmley (@KyleParmley) April 1, 2020
This all follows Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announcing this past week that students in the state will not return to the classroom for the remainder of the academic year as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the state and the nation.
Schools will instead finish the remainder of the 2019-20 school year online, beginning April 6.
“This decision has not been made lightly,” Ivey said. “It’s been made with a tremendous amount of concern and discussion. We must be serious about eliminating the spread of this virus. The public health orders are not suggestions. They have been put in place to save your life.”
Ivey announced during the press conference that she has supplemented her previous state of emergency order with the following language:
Beginning at the start of school on April 6, 2020, all public K-12 schools shall implement a plan to complete the 2019-2020 school year using alternate methods of instruction as established by the State Superintendent of Education. Local school districts shall make staffing decisions and determinations related to access to school buildings in accordance with all applicable public health orders and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health.
For the foreseeable future, schools will be unable to force students to complete any school work or assign grades until April 6.
State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey added that the Department of Education will work with individual school systems to assist with the transition.
“We are working diligently with our local superintendents and their teams to make sure there is a plan in place for every school,” Mackey said. “For every child to continue their learning to close out their school year, to graduate our seniors on time or very close to on-time, and by the end of this summer they will be moving on either into that next grade or moving on to their next step after high school.”
The academic year will now end on June 5, which is about a week removed from when most districts would typically end their school years, Mackey said.