By Will Fairless
The Opelika school board met last Tuesday for a combination of the regularly scheduled November and December meetings, and heard an update on virtual and traditional attendance in the school system.
Some students, 103 to be exact, have moved from traditional (or in-person) learning to virtual; most of those 103 are high school seniors. On the other hand, 813 students have moved from virtual learning to traditional learning (for a net change of 710 students in favor of traditional learning).
As of the meeting, 85% of the system’s students are participating in traditional learning. There was a question raised as to whether that uptick would present challenges to maintaining social distancing in the classrooms.
“Just need to stretch the room out,” said Superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors. “And we’ve pretty much cleaned out as many things that we didn’t have to have in the room.”
Each grade level had one virtual teacher, said Jeanie Miller, assistant superintendent of curriculum.
“Now we have three of those teachers going back into their grade level at whatever school they were in,” she said. “What the principals have done is they’ve gotten a report from the virtual teachers on what the child’s participation was, how did the child do, so now they are placing the children … into hopefully good spots.”
Neighbors added that they are trying to avoid restructuring existing traditional learning classes so that students can remain with the teachers they’ve already formed relationships with.
In other business, the board:
-approved personnel recommendations, including one special education teacher
-heard the monthly financial reports for September and October
-heard the monthly child nutrition reports for September and October
The Opelika city school board meets on the last Tuesday of each month, unless otherwise stated, at the Opelika City Schools central office at 300 Simmons St. The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2021.