(Updated) Student Return to Buildings
Huntsville City Schools Families:
We look forward to seeing our students back in the school building very soon. We announced Friday, August 28th, that we will begin phasing in student return to the classroom. Our current plan is to bring Pre-K through 8th grade students back to school on a staggered schedule beginning September 14, 2020. Our High School students will return on a staggered schedule beginning September 21, 2020.
Your school principal will be communicating with you regarding the cohort designation for your child or children. Students will be grouped into two cohorts, either Cohort A or Cohort B. The cohort designation allows you to see which days of the week your child or children will be attending school on campus. On the days that your child is not on campus, your child will continue to learn remotely by logging in to view live instruction.
We understand that our families have different needs, so Huntsville City Schools is offering several options to our families. Parents need to select one of the options listed below by September 9th:
- Huntsville Virtual Academy (HVA) Students:
- May choose to unenroll by completing the unenrollment form below to return to on campus instruction.
- May choose to remain in HVA through the rest of the first semester. This option requires no further action from HVA families.
- Non-HVA Students:
- May choose to enroll in HVA by completing the online enrollment form below.
- May choose to remain in remote learning until the end of the first nine weeks (October 23rd). After October 23rd, these students will join other non-HVA students with on campus instruction. Parents seeking this option should notify their school principal.
- May participate in the staggered schedule described in this letter. This option requires no further action from non-HVA families.
HCS administrators will provide a “Return To School” update at the September 3rd Board of Education meeting. You can view the Board of Education meeting here on the HCS website as well as on ETV (over-the-air channel 25.5, Comcast channel 17, and WOW channel 3). Additionally, school principals will notify families of the student cohort groups and the safety and wellness protocols in place at their schools to mitigate COVID-19 risks.
- September 1st – September 9th: Families select one of the options listed above and, if necessary, complete the required form (link included at the end of this letter)
- September 14th: Pre-K - 8th grade students return to school on a staggered schedule (Cohort A or Cohort B)
- September 21st: 9th-12th grade students return to school on a staggered schedule (Cohort A or Cohort B)
- October 5th – 9th: FALL BREAK
We appreciate our families and thank you for your patience and understanding.
This announcement will not impact students enrolled in HVA.
The district will return students to the school buildings in phases by bringing in younger students a week before older students. As outlined in the HCS Reset Plan, students will return to school using an A day/B day staggered schedule. Students will engage in live instruction every day both face-to-face and online.
Non-HVA students will return to school, by grade level, on the following dates:
- Week of Sept. 14, 2020: Pre-K - 8
- Week of Sept. 21, 2020: 9 - 12
HCS administrators made the decision to return students to school after witnessing improvements in the public health situation in North Alabama. Additionally, the decision was made in conjunction with local health and city officials.
“The hallmark of our plans surrounding a phased and staggered re-entry is the flexibility to adjust to the public health situation,” said HCS Superintendent Christie Finley.
Recognizing that some non-HVA families may be apprehensive about returning before the end of the first nine weeks, families of non-HVA students may opt for their students to continue to engage in remote learning until the end of the first nine weeks. The first nine weeks ends on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. HCS administrators will provide an update at the Sept. 3, 2020, HCS Board of Education meeting.
Principals will provide information to families on or before Sept. 4, 2020, related to student cohort groups for the staggered schedule. For information about the A day/B day schedule, please see page 40 of the district’s Reset Plan. The HCS Special Education Department will provide more information to families who receive special education services.
HCS administrators will continue to collaborate with local health and city leaders to evaluate conditions throughout the return to school process and for remainder of the first nine weeks.
“We thank our stakeholders for their commitment to promoting a safe and healthy environment,” Finley said. “We ask families to speak with their children about the importance of healthy habits to ensure a safe return for our students.”
HCS will continue to follow the district’s Reset Plan and communicate any updates to families.