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Check the latest weather conditions & view our Interactive Radar at any time with the WV TM app. You can also view current severe weather warnings & watches for Birmingham and surrounding areas on the WVTM13 alerts page.
Assistant Principal, Steven Brown takes the Ice Bucket Challenge for the Jonson Project! Based on the possibility of black ice and freezing temperatures on the mountain, WalkerCountySchools will operate on a 2-hour delay on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
Rock Spring Elementary “I think that any time we lose face-to-face instruction, that’s a concern,” said state school Superintendent Richard Woods, an elected Republican.
Unlike in some other states, the vast majority of Georgia districts serving the state's 1.8 million students have been offering in-person instruction, although a minority of families have elected to keep their students home for virtual learning. The state Department of Education said it's not keeping an official list of which schools close because of rising COVID-19 cases.
“Right now, schools and districts are making those decisions to close based on the regulations set by the Department of Public Health,” Woods said. In Cook County, officials are closing schools Thursday and will not resume instruction until Dec. 3, later than planned.
Cook County Superintendent Tim Dixon told WBAL-TV being off that week will give students and employees extra time to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms after Thanksgiving. “Over the past two weeks, we have seen a surge across the district due to factors outside the school buildings and our control,” Rains wrote to parents.
“This has caused a spike in positive cases, the associated close-contact quarantines, and the need for many teachers to stay home and provide necessary child care due to positive or quarantined students or closed daycare facilities.” The McMuffin County system said it will conduct online classes during the closure and will monitor countywide infection levels and employee infections before deciding whether to extend its closure past Nov. 29.
Alabama will close its Pre-K and K-12 public schools this coming week amid increasing civic measures to limit Alabamians' exposure to the novel coronavirus and adequately fund a public health response to the rapidly spreading respiratory illness. Kay Ivey on Friday declared a state of emergency in Alabama and announced a 2.5 week break for public schools.
State Superintendent Eric Mickey said they plan to reopen on Monday, April 6, but will reassess the situation the final week of March. The move came just hours after Alabama confirmed its first official COVID-19 patient, a civilian employee at Maxwell Air Force Base who fell ill after traveling home from Illinois.
By the end of Friday, the Alabama Department of Public Health had confirmed six COVID-19 patients, all in separate counties. Ivey's emergency declaration and school closures follow surrounding states, such as Tennessee, that have seen exponential increases in confirmed cases this week.
Prior to the first diagnosis, a number of Alabama colleges and universities shuttered in-person classes, asking students to move out of dorms and transition to online learning. There are also rising concerns about how equipped American hospitals are to handle large influxes of cases, as currently seen in Italy.
A data analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Alabama ranks among the top six most at-risk states for its adult population. The data show more than 45 percent of Alabama adults fall under those categories and are at higher risk of developing serious illness if infected with coronavirus.
State officials decided to shutter schools to allow families time to make alternate child-care arrangements. Valiant Cross Academy announced Friday night they planned to follow the same schedule and close at the end of March 18.
When it comes to reopening the schools, Mickey said he and public health department officials will factor whether the virus is continuing to spread and if it is impacting certain communities more than others. Mickey said he has stressed to superintendents to continue updating his department, especially on whether any confirmations related to student, staff or family members.
State officials are also working on plans to feed children who may rely on their school lunchroom for regular meals. Some options considered have been having parents pick up meals from the schools or having them delivered through community volunteers, Mickey said.
Under Alabama law, an emergency declaration starts a 60-day period which activates the state’s disaster response and recovery plans. Health officials say they now plan to implement testing centers across the state, thanks to a $5 million fund released by the Alabama Legislature on Thursday.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said the funding was for COVID-19 response while the state awaits $8.1 million from the federal government to address the outbreak. The Alabama Department of Public Health twice relaxed criteria this week for who should be eligible and prioritized for testing.
Initially, ADP officials said they were following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, which limited testing to people with recent travel to just a few countries that first saw outbreaks. By Thursday, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the department had decided to “liberalize” the criteria again, cutting out the ADP evaluation, so a person could receive testing just on their doctor's recommendation.
“The civilian employee is the first confirmed case in the state of Alabama,” said Col. Patrick Carla, 42nd Air Base Wing commander. Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Friday the patient had other chronic health issues, making him a high-risk and prioritized candidate for COVID-19 testing, which critics say has been slow to ramp up in Alabama as other states identified dozens of infected patients.
State officials have not provided other identifying information, such as the man's age, in an effort to protect his privacy. A day after many Alabama colleges, following other states’ lead, began shuttering their campuses, the news triggered a new wave of closures and cancellations across the River Region as public health officials urged people to take social distancing measures in an effort to slow the spread of the respiratory virus.
The city has asked people stay inside, echoing public health recommendations to practice “social distancing,” and encouraged institutions and companies cancel events.