Elmore County Schools is conducting a survey to prepare for the reopening of schools amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The Engaged Learning at Home and Health/Wellness survey asks for guardians to express their intentions as to how they would want their children to attend school in the fall. It was sent out to all guardians of children enrolled in an Elmore County public school.
“We are trying to gauge how parents feel to get that information for school administrations for when it does become time to return to the classroom,” Superintendent Richard Dennis said.
Going back to traditional school or continuing remote instruction is the main concern addressed throughout the survey as Elmore County Schools plans to reopen its schools Aug. 10.
“I expect that we will continue to be in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic for the next year,” Dennis said. “We intend to provide the resources needed for the children to be successful.”
For those students who prefer to not return to campus, ECBOE will provide a virtual learning option will be provided at each school, according to Dennis. This includes the online virtual platforms Odysseyware for grades kindergarten through fifth and Edgenuity for grades six through twelve.
Additionally, Dennis said each student will be assigned a Google Chromebook, provided his or her guardian approves of the resource.
“The children can utilize the Chromebooks at home throughout the school year,” Dennis said.
The survey also includes questions pertaining to internet connection availability at home, transportation plans to and from campus, medical conditions, priorities regarding safety practices, and ways to educate guardians of the technical aspects of virtual learning.
One question on the survey states, “How would you feel if school opens with students returning in smaller groups, which means alternating between virtual learning (from home) and attending school each week?” Responses include comfortable with no concerns, comfortable with concerns, somewhat uncomfortable and not at all comfortable.
In Elmore County, 86.6% of households have access to a computer and 79.6% have access to a broadband internet subscription, according to data published by the U.S. Census Bureau conducted from 2014 to 2018.
Broadband internet subscription quickly became an issue in cities across Alabama as citizens were forced to transition to online work and school in the spring, many without internet at home.
In April, the Elmore County Commission invested $65,000 to increase the number of public hotspot locations throughout the county.
Available on the Elmore County Commission website is an interactive map which shows the broadband hotspots available in the county. This map is in partnership with Elmore County Schools, Elmore County Economic Development Authority, local municipalities, and Central Access.
Guardians are asked to complete the survey as soon as possible.