By Erica Thomas, managing editor
CLAY — Clay-Chalkville High School Principal Michael Lee responded Tuesday to changes for the Jefferson County School system.
Earlier Tuesday, the Board of Education approved to offer remote learning only for the first nine weeks of school. The BOE also voted to push the start of school back to Sept. 1, 2020.
Lee said he supports the decision, which was recommended by Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin.
“Everybody feels like Dr. Gonsoulin and the people on the board really took into consideration all the facts,” Lee said. “I think at the end of the day, they were thinking about the safety of our faculty, our staff and our students.”
In a meeting with his faculty and staff, directly after the board meeting, Lee said everyone seemed pleased with the new plans.
“I think that is an excellent idea just so our teachers have another week of time to plan and get all of the remote lessons together,” Lee added. “Teachers are creatures of habit. They want to plan and want to know what to do. They are excited to come back. I haven’t had one teacher at Clay-Chalkville High School that has contacted me saying they did not want to come to school.”
The Jefferson County School system is providing Chromebooks for every student. Lee said he doesn’t foresee any connectivity issues for students.
Faculty and staff will be on campus at Clay-Chalkville High School and all students will be required to complete assignments remotely. Some students, such as athletes, those in special programs and career-tech students, will be allowed on campus at times.
“If you’re in an electrical class, you can’t very well do work on a computer,” Lee explained. “They will be scheduled and done in a manner that we don’t have too many students in any one spot at a time.”
The principal said his master plan will not change, in order to make sure teachers are not overwhelmed. Classes will stay the same and if and when students are brought back into the classroom, instruction will continue online and in school.
“My goal is that my teachers’ jobs are the easiest they can be when it comes to educating kids,” said Lee. “The more that we pile on teachers, that has nothing to do with education, the harder it is. So, we are going to do what we can to make it easier for them.”
The school has been sanitized and the city of Clay purchased sanitizing sprayers for each school in city limits.
“I want to thank Mayor Webster and our city council for doing that because they really take care of our schools,” Lee said.
Custodians will also undergo additional training later this week.
Lee is reminding parents to have updated contact information with the school. Each parent will be notified through mass communication, as changes happen. Lee said all students should check their email frequently.
Lee said he is thankful for the teachers at Clay-Chalkville High School, and he is proud of how they have handled the coronavirus pandemic and swift changes to education.
“I feel like our teachers love being here and they love and miss our students,” Lee said. “They make me want to be here.”
For students and parents, Lee said the school system is a family.
“We’re all in this together, we are here to support you,” he said. “There is not a question that a parent or a student can’t ask of us. We are here to serve them and what we do is not going to change.”