From The Tribune staff reports
CLAY — The first day of school started virtually in Jefferson County on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.
Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin held a press conference Tuesday afternoon giving information on the first day.
“This is a learning curve for everyone including our teachers, our faculty and our staff,” Gonsoulin said.
Gonsoulin added that even with extra time to plan, teachers have faced challenges on the first day of school.
“The one thing that I like about the faculty and staff of Jefferson County is that they’re always up to the task and they have done very amazing and innovative things as they prepared for it,” said Gonsoulin.
Many parents voiced frustrations over internet problems, technical malfunctions with the online program and difficulties learning how to use the program.
Clay-Chalkville High School Principal Michael Lee said day one was an overall success.
“The majority of everything has gone fine,” said Lee. “We knew that there were going to be a few minor bumps along the road.”
Lee confirmed there was a technical issue with WebX that has since been resolved.
“I think we’ve done really good and most people have been able to get everything done,” said Lee.
The start of the 2020 – 2021 school year was pushed back in order to give students, parents and teachers time to prepare for online instruction for at least the first nine weeks of school.
Jefferson County School Board President Ronnie Dixon said he is listening to the concerns of parents and teachers.
“There’s not enough bandwidth, despite the fact that some people have made arrangements to stay home with their children,” Dixon said. “There’s not enough training and I just don’t know how we can expect to get a quality education.”
Dixon said he would not be surprised if changes were made to the plan to keep students home for the first nine weeks.
“My opinion is that we will have in-person school for those who choose, sooner rather than later,” Dixon said. “Hopefully, we can do that by the middle of the month.”
Teachers at Clay-Chalkville High School said they were pleased with the number of students who logged on during day one of instruction. If parents or students need help, they can call the school for assistance.
There will also be a helpline open every day for Clay-Chalkville students and parents. The line will be answered from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. every school day. The number is (205) 379-3054.