With the Spring Semester beginning, the Russell County School District is planning to return to a hybrid schedule called the Scarlet-Navy schedule. Students with last names beginning with A-L will have in person classes on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of this Monday, which is a holiday), while students with last names beginning in M-Z will return to in-person classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday will be a virtual day for all students. With the return to in-person classes, faculty and staff now have the option to get the new vaccine for COVID-19, and approximately 68 percent of the staff have agreed to get the vaccine. Russell County Schools Superintendent Michael Ford had this to say on the topic:
“Russell County Schools has approximately 425 employees and 288 signed up for the vaccine (myself included!). The 288 count does include some student teachers and other folks that are only employed to coach. Our vaccine administration will go through Cumberland Family Medical and their staff have already completed the required training. The vaccine is voluntary and administration for school personnel will likely begin later this month or first of February. We have been told that due to limited number of vaccines, we will likely need to prioritize employees as to those that get the vaccine first. EX: a therapist that works closely with students would get the vaccine before a central office employee that has limited interaction with students. We are planning to return to the option of in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 19- hybrid schedule for all grade levels. “
Russell County High School Assistant Principal, Anthony Darnell, was one of the first staff members to get the vaccine. He shared his thoughts on the topic and why it is important to stay safe during this time:
“Of course, I am still employed with the Columbia Police Department and regularly work nights and weekends over there, even during the school year. I felt like, between my work at the Police Department and the number of contacts that I have at school also, that it was not only in my best interest, but also in the best interest of my family, colleagues, and students to get the vaccination. I wanted to not only protect myself, but everyone else as well. Due to the number of contacts and the type of work that I do in both places, I was regularly having “close calls” where someone I knew, or someone that had been at work recently would test positive. Even though I hadn’t had direct, close contact with them, it still concerned me that I could have been exposed to or may even expose someone else to the virus. I’ve had the first round of the vaccine. I had no issues besides a sore arm around the injection site. I look forward to getting the next round, hopefully staying healthy, and our schools, community, and country returning to normal, or as close to normal as we can, as soon as possible.”
Getting closer and closer to in-person school, the Russell County School System is trying their best to keep things safe throughout the rest of the year.