By D. Mark Mitchell

As I write my column, normally high school athletics would be winding down spring sports and spring football practice.
Seniors would be attending graduation events and preparing to receive their diploma at a ceremony. This year is the total opposite because of COVID-19.
No one is attending school in person or playing sports. Some are learning via social media teaching at home, while others are finished due to excellent grades.
Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey announced a tentative schedule for re-opening schools, bands, sports and other extracurricular activities.
Dr. Mackey was a guest on my radio show, On the Mark, earlier this week.
The mild-mannered Mackey, with his Southern charm and common- sense approach, has won over many educators in Alabama during his tenure as State Superintendent.
Although nothing is set in stone, Dr. Mackey calmly laid out his plan to reopen schools. His first statement centered around Alabama’s Health Department and Governor Ivey.
“Nothing I plan can happen without the State Health Department and Governor deeming it safe. Clearing anyone’s thought he is above the law and proving the health and well being of our students are number one,” Dr. Mackey
He has a three-step plan:
The first target date is June 8.
Children above 13 can come on campus in groups of 10 or fewer for summer workouts and practice.
“Older students are more likely to follow guidelines pertaining to social distancing,” Mackey said.
We can have summer school for this age group after careful planning.
The second phase starts on July 6.
Mackey stated younger students could come back on campus if they need to.
The required literacy camps on campus for kindergarten through third grade can start. The literacy camps may be difficult to start at this time, and if necessary, may wait to start until the 2020-21 school year.
The third important date is early August.
“I am hoping we can start band, volleyball and football practice” Dr. Mackey said.
Hopefully we will start the school year in