HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A Huntsville private school kicked off its school year for K-4 students Wednesday with a pitch to peel away students from public school parents unsatisfied with the prospect of virtual learning.
“We know that kids learn best in an environment like this as far as with structure, consistency and also we have a small of learning environment,” said Richard Reynolds, Principal of the Huntsville Achievement School.
The school is offering all in-person learning for its K-8 students. High school students with spend three days a week in the classroom and two days virtual.
Meanwhile, this year the public school systems in Madison County all decided to begin their school years virtual.
“Many of them are just coming because their parents realized that they really weren`t learning anything at home during the spring or they had gotten behind at another school, so we are trying to create a structure that ensures success isn’t just possible, it`s inevitable,” said Reynolds.
Safety measures have been put in place for students, including temperature checks by parents before school, masks, hand sanitizing, and rigorous cleaning of the school facilities.
“We started teaching them about social distancing,” said Reynolds.
While a number of studies confirm that most children, particularly younger aged students, learn better in the classroom, educators are a case of risk versus reward. A new study out of South Korea suggests that young people are just as capable of spreading COVID-19 as adults.
Infection Prevention Expert, Saskia Popescu, of George Mason University, says in-person learning can put teachers at risk. “They are likely to be in that environment where children might pull down their masks or not be very compliant and then may get coughs close to the face.”
Several photos of students at Huntsville Achievement School showed them wearing masks incorrectly on Wednesday. However, the vast majority of students appeared to be wearing the masks correctly. Reynolds says he is committed to ensuring the safety of his students this school year.
Huntsville Achievement School will begin the middle school year on August 10th and the high school year on August 17th.