Elmore County schools off to ‘unique start’ amid COVID-19

Elmore County schools start amid COVID-19

ELMORE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Elmore County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Dennis gave an update on how the start of school has been amid the COVID-9 pandemic.

Dennis said there are almost 11,000 students who are back on campus or participating. About 6,300 are participating in a traditional sense. About 4,300 are participating on a virtual platform as their base school.

Then we have about 250-plus students that are participating in the EDGE virtual school as well.

“So at this point, we’ve had a very, I would say a very unique start to the year,” said Dennis. “t’s almost like a staggered start, which has helped us because we’ve had fewer students on campus and we can make the adjustments needed."

Dennis says they have new guidelines on how to interact in hallways and classrooms.

He said faculty is trying to teach students the proper way to social distance and the protocol if they interact with someone who might have the virus.

He said they try to explain that to students because “things are things are all new. It is very difficult and complicated. Department of Health is attempting to explain the procedures, but they are complicated.”

Multiple students have been identified as COVID-19-positive since school started. Dennis said students who have had contact with them were asked to self-isolate.

Seven students have tested positive since the end of last week. Another 65 are now self-isolated due to direct contact with an individual who tested positive or were symptomatic.

Dennis said they’ve also had multiple employees impacted by COVID-19 since August. At least seven have tested positive while 29 others have self-isolated.

Officials say they have a plan of action to protect students and employees if someone gets sick.

Employees have been asked to quarantine if they test positive and self-isolate if they test negative. Dennis said they are asking students to do the same.

More information on the school district’s coronavirus protocols can be found on their website.

“We’re working to accommodate and just train people to be prepared and how to react to situations,” said Dennis.

Dennis said school officials will be calling parents to share information during the first week of school.

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