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: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
Bolivar241384
Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
Grenada140945
Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
Hancock121139
Wayne117923
Marion116646
Attala113034
Tishomingo109442
Chickasaw107632
Newton105629
Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
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