Local school system prepares for potential COVID-19 closure with offline classwork plan

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - School systems across the Valley are making advance plans in case they need to close in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in Alabama.

The Limestone County Schools System says they are prepared for the worst and they do have a contingency plan in place.

Limestone County School Systems COVID-19 preparedness plan is a little different. Leaders say they don't want to leave any student behind if schools need to close, so they will do everything the old fashioned way.

Shutting down and moving classes online could leave behind the many students who don't have computers, home internet access or parents with flexible work schedules.

"We're not what's called a one-to-one district school, meaning we don't have laptops, or computers, or iPads for every student in the county," said interim superintendent Mike Owens.

While several school systems across the Tennessee Valley will assign students classwork online, Limestone County Schools Interim Superintendent Mike Owens says that won't work for them.

"Many of our students in our more rural areas do not have internet access anyway," said Owens.

The school system is planning to do things the old fashioned way so that no student falls behind.

"Why penalize a child by making assignments that are on computers, or laptops, or whatever, and they don't even have access to downloading those lessons at home? So we're making certain that we have paper and pencil items for them to work on," said Owens.

The school system is requiring that teachers have at least two weeks of work ready for students to do from home.

"Paper and pencil is an old method but it's tried and true and we know that it works for us," said Owens.

Owens says while school continues as scheduled, they are sanitizing surfaces frequently, teaching students to use proper hygiene, and encouraging anyone who feels sick or has a fever to stay home.

Limestone county school leaders say they are following all recommendations from the State Board of Education and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

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