After school care will continue to be Pre-K thru 8 option

After school care will continue to be Pre-K thru 8 option
By Fran Thompson
All students will have the choice to learn in a traditional setting or a virtual format when Gulf Shores begins its 2nd year as a school district on August 12. Students who select the virtual education option will be required to participate in this program for a minimum of one quarter.
After school care will continue to be an option for elementary and middle schoolers
“Both options will provide a rigorous and engaging learning experience,’’ said GSS Superintendent Matt Akin. “It is extremely important that students who participate in virtual education are motivated learners who have access to regular adult support at home to ensure a successful learning experience.’’
The plan is subject to change and probably will as circumstances surrounding Covid-19 evolve. “We understand that we may have to make modifications based on changing guidance from the ADPH and the SDE,’’ said Akin.
Teachers delivering face-to-face instruction will also maintain content and assignments online for possible short-term student absences due to COVID-19 exposure or infection. “For students who must be out of school for short periods of time, our goal is to provide a seamless transition from the traditional classroom to a temporary online environment,’’ Akin said.
To see the plan, visit To reach Superintendent Akin, call (251) 968-9873 or email at
New Classes
New classes available include spanish in grades K-12; robotics and STEAM classes at GSMS; aviation at GSHS; Spanish in grades K-12, Gulf Coast Ecology; Engineering; Rising Tide; Fine Arts.
Facility Upgrades
Outdoor classrooms, STEAM labs, robotics labs, sensory room and a $4.6 million capital improvement project to upgrade athletic facilities for athletes.
Superintendent’s Best Quote
“Although we face many challenges, the opportunities for our students continue to grow.’’
Elementary Virtual Academy
Students must complete all assignments on time and participate in scheduled, small group sessions 1-5 days per week with attendance taken. Students are permitted to work ahead in courses, but if they fall behind, they may be required to attend traditional school.
Students are required to participate in annual, on-campus state mandated standardized testing and will have the option to participate in weekly face-to-face or virtual enrichment activities such as art, music, physical education and Spanish at the Gulf Shores Cultural Center, which will be the campus for the Gulf Shores Virtual Academy. Students can participate in after-school clubs at the GSES campus. Tutoring by zoom or face- to-face is available.
Middle/High Virtual Academy
For high school students and middle schoolers, core, elective, and advanced placement course options will be offered and high school students will have an opportunity to take 18 hours of tuition free dual enrollment classes at Coastal Alabama Community College Gulf Shores Campus. Qualified high school students will also be able to take discount dual enrollment classes at Auburn, Alabama and South Alabama.
Some students, based on performance, will be required to participate in videoconferencing sessions 1-5 days per week, and students who fall behind in their course work or do not maintain adequate attendance may be required to attend traditional school.
Participation in online courses, including required videoconferencing sessions, will be monitored, and students are required to participate in annual on-campus state mandated standardized testing.
Students can participate in clubs and athletics at their base school, and tutoring will be available via videoconferencing and face-to-face.
Drop-Offs & After School Care
All three schools will utilize gyms, cafeterias, hallways, and outside areas as much as possible in adherence to ADPH guidelines.
Assemblies, Clubs, Field Trips
Pep rallies, assemblies, field trips and award ceremonies are – at least temporarily – not allowed, and club activities may be limited according to ADPH guidelines.
Athletic Events TBA
Athletic events will be scheduled and regulated in accordance to guidance provided by the Alabama High School Athletic Association. That body has not made a determination.
Breakfast & Lunch
A rotation of cafeterias, classrooms, and outside dining areas will be used to promote social distancing during lunch. All meals will be served in pre-packaged disposable containers, and a contactless payment system will be used for both breakfast and lunch. Cafeteria tables will be sanitized between each lunch period.
Fill Stations – Water Fountains
Water fountains will be refitted as water bottle filling stations and students are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles. Hallways will be divided into two lanes to provide greater social distancing and students will not share supplies such as scissors, crayons and glue.
In Class Protocols
While in class, students will sit facing the same direction, and desks will be separated as much as possible. Sanitizer and disinfectant will be available throughout the schools, including every classroom. High touch areas like desks, door handles/knobs, and water bottle fill stations will be disinfected throughout the day with hospital grade sanitizer and disinfectant.
Facemasks Optional
Students and staff are encouraged to bring their own face covering to school and wear it when social distancing is not possible. But face coverings are not required.
Wear Your Sneakers
Students will not dress out for PE classes, but they are encouraged to wear or change into shoes appropriate for physical activity. Only games and sports with minimal physical contact will be played.
In Case Of Unexpected Closing
If schools are closed unexpectedly, students will take home their school issued devices (iPads for K-8 and MacBooks for 8-12). Hotspots will be available to students who do not have Wi-Fi at home.
Taking The Bus
To reduce the number of students on each bus, parents are encouraged to transport their child, but buses will have hand sanitizer and masks available and each driver will be provided with a face shield, mask, and gloves.
Students will have assigned seats; family members will be seated together, and buses will unload from front to back to minimize student contact. Drivers will open roof hatches and/or windows to keep fresh air circulating and all buses will be disinfected after each trip.
School Visitors
Any visitor who goes beyond the front office will be required to complete a health survey, including a temperature check, and wear a face covering when working with students.
Please Keep Sick Kids Home
A student who presents COVID-19 symptoms during the school day will be quarantined until the student leaves campus. Parents should check their child’s temperature every morning and keep their child at home if the child has a temperature of 100.4 or higher. Parents should monitor for symptoms like cough, congestion, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, chills, or gastrointestinal issues. Parents should notify the school nurse as soon as possible if their child is staying home from school due to COVID-19. These absences will not impact truancy.
Infection Guidelines
In the case of a positive COVID-19 test of a student or staff member, school officials will follow current state guidelines. The GSS plan outlines specific procedures for infected students and staff.