Frequently Asked Questions as Ala.’s schools close over COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions as Ala.’s schools close over COVID-19
The Alabama State Department of Education is sharing answers to a list of frequently asked questions in relation to closures due to coronavirus. (Source: ALSDE)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama State Department of Education is releasing a list of frequently asked questions regarding the state’s public schools in the wake of a growing global outbreak of COVID-19, or coronavirus.

Are ALL Alabama public schools closing?

Answer: Yes. All K-12 will be closed by the end of March 18. That includes all afterschool programs, events, and activities.

When will schools reopen?

Answer: The expectation is that schools will reopen on April 6, but because safety is a primary concern, the ultimate date for reopening will be made through ALSDE’s consultation with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Will students have an unexcused absence if they miss class from March 16 through 18?

Answer: Students who miss those days will not be marked “unexcused” but their absence will count on the school’s accountability report card.

When schools reopen, will field trips (including out of state) be allowed?

Answer: The situation will need to be reassessed due to the changing situation, but currently, all trips/conferences are considered canceled through April 30.

Should any school or central office staff report to work at this time?

Answer: Districts determine essential staff. Teachers, admins, and staff are not “off” but because of the health and safety concerns, local superintendents will determine work-from-home schedules, if needed.

Will schools provide food services to schools during this closure?

Answer: With appropriate distancing measures, some districts may continue to provide meals or other essential services. School systems make this determination independently. Local superintendents are asked to coordinate with churches, food banks, and other community resources to make sure all children have food during this closure.

Does the state’s school closures include daycare facilities?

Answer: ALSDE has no authority over daycare centers, which must make independent decisions on their best course of action.

Does the state’s school closures include private schools?

Answer: Although private schools do sometimes look to ALSDE guidance, ALSDE has no authority over private schools. Decisions by private schools are ultimately an independent decision.

What should a school/system do if they think they have a case of COVID-19?

Answer: Notify the ADPH and Alabama State Superintendent of any known employee, student or family member.

Will school employees be charged annual leave during school closures?

Answer: Employees will continue to be paid and will not be charged annual leave during this closure.

State officials have opened a new, toll-free number for people who develop symptoms and need to be tested. For more on how to get tested, you can call 1-888-264-2256. This is not a medical helpline.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.