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Estimated 12,000 students return on Aug. 4 with new school, mask options

MADISON – It’s your decision – wear a mask if you like, or do not wear a mask.

Madison City Schools will apply a mask-optional procedure for all campuses when the 2021-2022 school year opens for students on Aug. 4.

“Our schools will return to normal activities. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 rate in our community and our schools,” MCS Superintendent Ed Nichols said in his weekly email updates to school families.

Like last school year, all buildings will have hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaning and other sanitizing. Nursing spaces will include isolation units.

The same procedures for other communicable diseases apply to COVID-19. A student with major symptoms of COVID-19 should visit a doctor for diagnosis. The student can return to school with a physician’s release.

“Alabama Department of Public Health will be coordinating the contact tracing for the area,” Nichols said. “Quarantining guidelines are still in effect unless someone can present a vaccination document.”

Alabama Department of Education has canceled requirements for virtual options for grades K-12. MCS therefore will return to the regular school option and won’t offer virtual instruction for grades K-8. A student in these grades interested in virtual learning can access an option available statewide; most options are tuition-free. For information, email curriculum@madisoncity.k12.al.us.

In early July, more than 600 new students had registered for grades 1-12, along with 700-plus kindergarten students. “Currently, we’re on track to hit the 12,000 mark in our student population,” Nichols said.

All schools will host Open House on Aug. 2. “Students can visit their building, see their classroom and meet their teacher,” Nichols said.

Open houses for First Class Pre-Kindergarten Center and elementary schools are scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. Middle school students can attend between 4 and 7 p.m. High schools will welcome visitors from 5 to 8 p.m.

Each school’s lead bus driver will provide route information, including each neighborhood’s bus numbers and pickup/drop-off times.

As MCS FIRST Class Pre-Kindergarten Center transitions to the former West Madison campus, students will enter classrooms at the newest campus, Midtown Elementary School at 140 Coefer Blvd., just northeast of the intersection of Sullivan Street and Old Madison Pike.

“We are excited to add (Midtown) to our lineup of excellent schools,” Nichols said. Landscaping and some exterior work are the only remaining tasks. The project is on schedule and slightly under its budget of $35.6 million.

In addition, construction continues on Journey Middle School on Celtic Drive.

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