How would Alabama schools move forward during a coronavirus outbreak?

Coronavirus

This story is part of the CBS 42 special report Coronavirus: The Facts.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — School and health leaders in Alabama reiterate that as of Tuesday, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama, but educators are preparing local superintendents for the possibility of cases coming to local classrooms. 

“We are guiding local school districts now not to travel overseas,” said Eric Mackey, superintendent of the Alabama State Department of Education.

Mackey said that while no coronavirus cases have been reported in Alabama schools, there are plans in place should one arise. He said a school would close for 24-48 hours in the event a case was discovered.

Mountain Brook City Schools are preparing e-learning technology which was pioneered by the system during the H1N1 outbreak a decade ago. The school system was the first in the country to use “e-days” for students to complete a day of school work online from home.

“We came up with this idea of this e-day, and over the last ten years we practice it about two times a year,” Mountain Brook Schools Superintendent Dicky Barlow said. 

Barlow said the system is also putting an increased emphasis on frequent cleaning.

“Every time the cafeteria is empty for five minutes, let’s make sure we clean the tables,” Barlow said.

At the college level, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has formed an emergency response team that meets frequently with representatives from numerous campus organizations. They are also discouraging travel that isn’t necessary.

In Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama issued a statement about their ongoing response to coronavirus.

“The university has no plans of closing, canceling courses or moving to online-only courses after Spring break. Our campus has a number of comprehensive plans to address emergencies and a variety of contingencies. We continuously review and keep those plans updated,” the statement read.


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