Marla Jones, Managing Editor
DEKALB AND JACKSON COUNTIES, Ala.--School bells will be ringing this week as several school systems will begin their new 2021-2022 year.
Cornerstone Christian Academy, Scottsboro City Schools, and Jackson County will start their new year on Thursday, August 5. DeKalb County School systems will begin on August 6. Fort Payne City Schools will resume classes on August 10.
Excitement is in the air as teachers prepare to welcome new students into their classrooms.
“Tomorrow I will begin my 15th year of teaching. I am so thankful that God led me to this calling...I LOVE what I do and look forward to meeting my new kiddos, who by the end of the year, will be MY kiddos!” stated Fyffe teacher Kristi Goggans Underwood. “My prayer is that God’s light will shine through me with everything I say and do and that I can be what my babies need each and every day.”
The USDA has extended a waiver to school districts to continue free lunches throughout the state. All students in DeKalb, Fort Payne City Schools, Scottsboro City Schools, and Jackson County School Systems are eligible to receive a free breakfast and a free lunch each day for the 2021-2022 school year.
As the new school term begins, educators are closely monitoring the situation of COVID-19.
According to a statement provided to students, parents, and staff of the DeKalb County Schools, DeKalb County Superintendent Wayne Lyles stated that while the rise in the number of cases is concerning, the system is optimistic at this point to start the new school year according to the DeKalb County Schools Reopening Plan of 2021-22.
“I have received communication from the State Superintendent, Dr. Eric Mackey, that local systems should not expect mandates from his office or the Governor’s Office in the near future” stated Superintendent Lyles. “However, we will certainly be receptive if and when they feel there is a need for them to provide further guidelines to protect from COVID-19.”
“During the 2021-2022 school year, Fort Payne City School System will offer face-to-face traditional instruction for all students K-12. A fully online curriculum will be offered [to grades] 9-12” stated Fort Payne City Schools Superintendent, Brian L. Jett. “COVID -19 vaccines are not required for students and staff members. Additionally, at this time, the wearing of a face mask is optional for students and staff members.”
“As we plan to move into the new school year, Scottsboro City Schools is committed to continuing to move toward a more traditional school year” stated Interim Superintendent for Scottsboro City Schools, Amy Childress. “While school safety remains the top priority for our students, faculties, and staff, our goal is to ensure the delivery of high-quality instruction in a safe and clean learning environment.”
Jackson County School System (JCS) posted on their website a 2021 Parent’s Guide for Returning to School which can be found at www.jacksonk12.org.
“Jackson County School System (JCS) is making every effort to ensure a successful school year. We are eager to return to normal operations, but also understand COVID-19 remains a serious concern.”
The school systems will continue to use the same sanitizing practices that were used successfully last year to protect the students and staff.
In accordance with January 29, 2021, Center for Disease Control (CDC) order, masks are required on school buses for drivers and passengers. At press time, both Jackson and DeKalb County School Systems informed that they will follow this ruling.
Currently, individuals age 12 and above are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. DeKalb and Fort Payne City School systems will be offering students, staff, and parents voluntary vaccination opportunities.
“I am pleased to announce that the Fort Payne City Schools in compliance with the Alabama Department of Public Health will host a vaccine clinic at Fort Payne High School for students (ages 12 and older) to receive the COVID-10 Pfizer vaccine prior to the beginning of the upcoming school year” stated Fort Payne City School Superintendent Brian Jett. “ Additionally, the clinic is welcoming parents, guardians, and staff who wish to receive the Modera vaccine.”
The first dose will be administered Friday, August 6. The clinic is set for 12:00 p.m. through 2:00 p.m.
The DeKalb County School System plans to offer voluntary vaccination opportunities to students, parents, and staff in the coming weeks.