Etowah County Schools delay start by one week

July 24, 2020 chris
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Photo: Dr. Alan Cosby

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

During a specially called meeting last Tuesday (July 21), the Etowah County Schools Board of Education voted to delay the start of the 2020 fall semester one week from August 11 to August 17 in light of COVID-19 concerns.

Administrators and teachers will report Aug. 6-7 for in-service as previously scheduled.

“This will give our teachers and staff seven days to prepare for the school year,” said Etowah County Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Cosby. “I think it’s a good thing, because it allows our staff and our teacher more time to prepare for what lies ahead.”

Cosby mentioned the idea of possible having a staggered start to the school year, in which students with the first alphabetic letter of their last names would start school on either Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and have all students present on Friday.

“That’s something we’ll look at at a later date, but it might help with the transition of easing into the school year,” he said.

Cosby noted that 771 ECS students have chosen the virtual classroom option, which put the in-school enrollment currently at approximately 7,600 students.

“This [education option] closes in two days, so at that point we’ll have a good idea then of what we’re looking at in terms of virtual versus traditional students,” he said. “At that point, we’ll start making some decisions about how we’re going to staff our virtual school.”

Upon Cosby’s proposal, the board established October 13, November 23 and 24 and February 15 as the four E-learning days during the school calendar.

“I want us at this point to do everything we can do and be as prepared as we can be and try to have our kids back,” said Cosby. “We have about four weeks before we’re back in the classrooms, and a lot can happen in that timespan. I want us to carefully evaluate where we’re at and where we need to be.

“It will be an atypical and very tough school year, but I think our principals are ready for what lies ahead. We’re going to take every precaution that we can take and give the kids the education that they deserve.”

For more information on school updates regarding COVID-19, visit www.ecboe.org.