The Tuscaloosa City School Board will weigh their options and could decide next week if its more than 10,000 students should return to in-person instruction earlier than expected.

TCS announced back in July that its 19 schools would host their first nine weeks of school virtually.

Virtual classes began just nine days ago and the board intended to send students back to classrooms in October, but will now consider a plan to reopen later this month instead at their meeting next Tuesday.

"I’d like to propose that we discuss and accept a date-specific plan for returning our traditional students to campus with a staggered model for a period of time followed by full-time with all students," Superintendent Mike Daria said in the board's meeting Tuesday night.

"My thinking here is that we can do this before the end of the nine weeks. I’m not here tonight to present that recommendation but what I would like to do is bring a date-specific proposal to the Tuesday meeting next week for the board to discuss, review and consider."

Daria says that the goal is to return all students back to full-time in-person instruction after a period of staggered learning that he anticipates will last around two weeks.

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Daria said that the success of virtual learning has put the school system in a good place to be flexible. If TCS has to shut down a school and quarantine students due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases, Daria said, "we have an educational continuity plan because we have infrastructure for that plan."

"The educators of this school system have done an amazing job getting our Schoology and virtual platform up and running," Daria said. "The amount of work, learning and effort that they put into doing this has been nothing short of outstanding and amazing."

 

Daria said that 42 percent of students have requested to learn virtually all year long, which would reduce the number of children physically in classrooms and could facilitate an earlier return to in-person instruction for those who desire it.

Watch Daria's entire presentation to the school board below, and stay tuned to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more updates from the system as they become available.