Fort Payne schools give students two options for attending

Fort Payne Superintendent of Education Jim Cunningham makes a presentation on the school website,

Students attending Fort Payne City Schools this fall will have two options, according to City Superintendent of Education Jim Cunningham.

“I had great hope that normalcy would return during the summer months, but as you know, COVID-19 still marches on,” Cunningham said in a presentation shared on FP TV at “Due to this fact, we’ve devised a reopening plan for the Fort Payne City School system.”

Students will be welcomed back to campus on August 12, he said. Families who have reliable access to the internet will have the option of keeping their child at home to learn virtually.

“Our main concern is offering our students a strong academic platform in the safest environment we can possibly provide,” he said.

Option One will be traditional face-to-face instructional delivery in the classroom, either full-time or (for grades 9-12) “blended” with some online learning methods on some days of the week.

Option Two will be a Virtual School for K-12 based on a statewide curriculum and supplemental curriculum that is student-paced and provided through Schoology and the Google Classroom Student Management System. Students will be able to opt-out at the end of each nine-week term.

Parents who intend to choose Option Two for their child will need to register for the 2020-21 school year before noon on Friday, July 17, 2020. A separate registration must be completed for each child you want to register for full-time virtual school. This is in addition to and does not replace the registration process for the actual school in which the student is enrolled for 2020-21.

“Option One is what you are used to: face-to-face instruction, all students, all teachers, all day face-to-face instruction delivery on campus,” Cunningham said. “The blended model would only be used if the principal and counselors feel that reducing the classroom through a traditional blended setting would promote the health and safety of our students.”

“Virtual school will not be from 8 a.m. to 10:30,” he said. “This will be all-day school, so keep this in mind if you choose this. It’s not an ‘easy out.’ It’s a different out. [Students are] going to take tests over the internet. If we have to have state testing, your student will have to report to the school to take that test.”

He said all virtual school students can participate in school extracurricular and sports activities.

The Fort Payne City Schools are also adding health and safety procedures for 2020-21, including:

• Daily cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, restrooms and common areas.

• Encouragement to wear face masks or face shields and practice increased hand washing and hygiene routines.

• Social distancing protocols including line spacing and staged or one-way class changes, modified seating arrangements in classrooms, limited contact sports in PE, limited locker room usage and a requirement to wear face masks or coverings when six-foot social distance cannot be maintained.

• All students will be required to wear face masks or coverings for the entire bus route to and from home. Students will be assigned to seats, and members of the same household will sit together. Bus loading will be staggered to follow social distancing guidelines.

• School buses will be sanitized following the morning and afternoon routes.

• Meals consumed in classrooms or in the cafeteria will have limited capacity seating, with “Grab and Go” lunches encouraged.

• Conferences and meetings can be face-to-face or virtual with parents/guardians. Only one parent or guardian will be allowed inside the office to check an in-person student in or out of school.

• Parents need to monitor a student’s temperature every morning, and students with a temperature of 100.4 or higher should stay at home and consider COVID testing if there is no other explanation. Parents are also directed to keep a student home if they are coughing, congestion or exhibit shortness of breath or gastrointestinal symptoms.

• Parents are asked to reinforce proper handwashing, coughing into elbows or tissues, not sharing personal items or supplies and self-reporting any symptoms to their child’s teacher or school nurse.

• Students should notify the school immediately if the student has been exposed to COVID-19, is tested for it or if a household member tests positive for the coronavirus.

Many of the city’s school bus numbers and routes will change for the 2020-21 school year. The changes are due to the district receiving four new buses and because of the COVID-19 social distancing requirements. If a child will ride a Fort Payne City School bus, their parent will need to fill out an enrollment form online before Friday, July 27. The link for the enrollment form is

The link to new student registration online for kids entering Pre-k through 12th grade is This link is for NEW students only.

For more information, visit Cunningham’s full presentation at

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