Learning options detailed for city schools' students

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Jasper City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson recently took the time to help simplify learning options available for students this fall, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video shared on July 1, Jackson explained what is different between the three learning options available to students returning to school next month — traditional, remote, and blended learning.

Parents have until July 15 to decide which learning plan is right for their child.

As for traditional learning, Jackson said, "It's just what we know public school to be. It's coming to school every day. It's face-to-face instruction with a teacher and all the things that go along with public school."

She said remote learning will be an option for students who will not be attending school for traditional instruction.  

"Remote learning is the state provided, home school online program. We haven't seen it. We don't know what it looks like," Jackson said. "It is rigorous instruction that is delivered online, pretty much in a tutorial fashion. This program would be ideal for highly disciplined, highly motivated students. It certainly would be an option for those of you who have extenuating circumstances that make coming to school a hazard for your health or someone at home."

She said remote learning is provided free by the state and allows students to stay enrolled with Jasper City Schools.

Students who are learning remotely still have the option to participate in extracurricular activities offered by the school system.

Parents can switch their children from traditional to remote learning or vice versa at the end of any nine-week grading period.

There's also the option for blended instruction. 

"That's simply a blended format, should schools have to close for an extended period of time," Jackson said.

With blended instruction, students would attend traditional school and may have to switch to virtual learning, if schools had to close due to COVID-19. Students would have their own teachers deliver instruction virtually with the blended option.

Parents who want their children to strictly participate in remote learning must submit an application online by July 15, in order to give school principals time to create rosters for in-classroom instruction. 

"I'm right there with you in having more questions than I have answers, but we are working diligently to come up with some guidelines that will keep our students and our faculty safe," Jackson said.

The superintendent also expressed her gratitude for the community's support.

"We just want you to know how appreciative we are. We've had so many phone calls and so many visits by people saying that they are thinking about us, that they are praying for us. They know that it's been a difficult time for us, but we're going to get through it," Jackson said. "It's going to be good, and we're going to take care of kids."

The Jasper City School system will unveil a full plan in the coming days for reopening schools on Aug. 20, as well as some guidelines that will be in place.

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