GORDO, Ala. (WIAT) — A surge of COVID cases in Pickens County is forcing school leaders to make tough choices. Superintendent Jamie Chapman says the school system will switch to virtual learning for 10 days starting Sep. 7 until Sep. 17.
“Our COVID numbers are higher then they were in the 2020 school year, and we’ve hit triple digits on COVID positives and quarantines. It is very frustrating for us as a school system and frustrating for our stakeholders, parents and students. But we wanted to do something to slow the spread,” said Chapman.
There are 2,350 students in Pickens County schools, Jamie Chapman tells CBS 42. 19% of students and staff tested positive for COVID and many are home under quarantine.
“So if we can get over the hump and past the spike to get our numbers lower so they can decline, and we just want to keep everyone safe. And safety for our students is our number one priority along with our employees, that’s what we are after,” Chapman said.
Kelli Shelton has four children in Pickens County Schools and opposes virtual learning.
“It’s good and its bad, I learned about virtual last year and I chose face-to-face for my children when they could go, and my oldest two didn’t do so well when they had to stay home and do virtual online because they are better in a classroom setting,” said Shelton.
Superintendent Jamie Chapman says his decision was based on the high COVID positivity rate that has impacted the schools since classes got underway three weeks ago. Chapman says teachers will give students packets with assignments to take home, other students will use Chrome Book laptop computers.