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Butler Co. Schools reports successful first week back

By Daaiyah Latham

Butler County Schools completed its first week in school, but it looks a little different thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“In addition to providing the best possible educational services for our students, we are charged with implementing a process to maintain an environment that is safe and healthy for our students and staff members that limits their exposure to COVID-19,” the system said.

Throughout the school year, the staff will be forced to find innovative ways to make school feels like school but with precautions included.

The schools are practicing cleanliness by having sanitary stations, mask being worn at all times, social distancing for those who have decided to start school in class.

Superintendent Joe Eiland said, “the hardest part about opening school in the midst of a pandemic is the ‘unknown.’  While they limit and guide the behaviors of our students from 7:30 to 3:30 Monday-Friday, they have no way to be certain that their behaviors are safe and compliant with ADPH guidelines outside of those hours.”

The schools also provided a virtual learning option for those who felt more comfortable at home, which will allow the child to be at home but still be a part of the school, as far as funding.

During the summer, Butler County used $500,000 on Chromebooks for every K-12 student.

In times like this, mental health may seem hard to maintain; they have employed Senia Powell as the school system social worker and mental health specialist.

Additionally, they have partnered with South Central Alabama Mental Health. The counselors visit students weekly, gains support from the new organization, Healing Hearts to Resiliency.

Butler County plans to continue with their school year offering both traditional, virtual, and perhaps blends of instruction between now and January. They are hoping that the pandemic begins to end across the state so that they may return to 100 percent traditional, in-person, and learning by January 2021.