BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham City Schools has been dealing with an increase in staffing absences due to a surge of positive COVID-19 cases.

On Sunday, the district announced that schools would be transitioning to remote learning for the foreseeable future.

“We did not want to have situations where large numbers of classes were without educators. We also did not want students waiting for buses that did not arrive.”

Birmingham City School System

BCS Superintendent Mark Sullivan addressed concerns on the staffing issues as well as the district’s response to the pandemic as well.

Sullivan said roughly 2% of students and 5% of employees are currently COVID-19 positive and taking precautions.

Despite the district turning to remote learning, Sullivan says it is crucial that students return to in-person learning to avoid falling behind.

“So much is happening now to ensure that our students have a bright future,” Sullivan said. “Educating our children is a critical part of that future. So we stand ready as a system and individually to meet the challenges that this virus has for our school system and any other challenges that offset our students in Birmingham City Schools.”

You can watch the full press conference in the video player above.