Alabama superintendent wants schools to remain in-person

Despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in Alabama, state Superintendent Eric Mackey said he wants schools to return in-person class after Thanksgiving holidays.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 7:19 PM

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in Alabama, state Superintendent Eric Mackey said he wants schools to return in-person class after Thanksgiving holidays.

“We will do everything we can to avoid widespread closures of physical schools,” Mackey told WALA-TV.

The state’s COVID-19 school dashboard was updated Friday to show nearly 2,300 cases last week in public schools compared to to about 1,600 last week. Cases have more than doubled in two weeks.

While a statewide switch to virtual learning is off the table, the state superintendent says individual schools could switch to all virtual learning as a last resort. Two school systems where cases rapidly increased, Alexander City and Marshall County, switched all their schools to virtual learning temporarily. Some other individual schools also have stopped in-person instruction temporarily.

Two school systems announced Friday that at least some of their classes would be going to hybrid schedules after Thanksgiving because of rising virus numbers. The Hoover school system said all students will attend two days a week, with all students staying home on Wednesday, through Jan. 18.

Hybrid learning in for Huntsville's six high schools mean some students will be returning to class though.

Three of the city's six high schools are currently fully remote because of coronavirus exposures and infections, and Superintendent Christie Finley says they all have been fully remote at one point. Finley said cases have been concentrated in high schools and the hybrid schedule will last until the end of the semester.

Huntsville also had two elementary schools that were fully remote in the week ending Friday.

Mackey said schools that close often have to shut down because too many teachers are exposed and told to quarantine, a problem that's been seen nationwide.

“You get to the point you just can’t keep the school open because there’s not enough adults to run the school when that happens then we want to work with the local superintendents to close that school for as brief a period of time as possible,” he said.

The virus has hit Mackey's own department as well, with him telling state school board members earlier this month that more than 50 state Department of Education employees had been sent home to quarantine after employees in two areas tested positive for the coronavirus.

The state's larges district, Mobile County, says it plans for student to return to campus after Thanksgiving.

“Our goal is to stay with in-person learning as long as we can,” said Rena Philips, spokesperson for the district. She said that quarantines can be a challenge, "but so far we’ve been able to address those challenges.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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