UMS Wright moving to online classes to reduce COVID-19 risk

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Schools across Alabama will be closing this week, Alabama public schools close Thursday, and private schools are making decisions school by school.

One Mobile private school that has chosen to close its doors to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 is UMS Wright.

The campus closed to students on Monday, and on Wednesday they will begin taking classes online.

The halls at UMS Wright are practically empty, only teachers and staff are there, as their students will begin to transition to online learning.

“As seamless as we can possibly make it, we hope for it to be that way,” said Doug Barber, the Head of School at UMS Wright.

The school has had an online component of its curriculum since 2008, and have used blended learning approaches with online course work for years. The school says they’re ready to make the transition fully online because of the concerns over coronavirus.

“There’s a degree of certainty that our teachers are familiar because they all use some sort of blended approach to teaching in their classrooms currently,” said Barber.

The decision to close their doors comes from a recommendation from the public health department.

“We’re a part of this community. So part of the opportunity we have in this situation to teach and model for our students, high school students, 4-year-old students, 5-year-old students what it means to be a good citizen and being a good citizen means we take the recommendations made by the local, state and federal governments,” Barber said.

Currently, they plan to teach remotely for eight days before spring break. The school day will be relatively the same for students, they will still follow a schedule. Classes will start around 8:30 a.m. and be done around 3:15 p.m.

In the meantime, the school is being disinfected as they wait for the all-clear for students to come back to campus.

“We’re going to deliver. make no mistake – we want them here. The interactions with the kids is really what makes this school alive, and without them here, it’s really not the same,” Barber said.

As of right now, UMS Wright plans to reopen the campus on April 6, but that plan could change depending on the risk of the virus and recommendations from the health department and state.


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