Work continues on mandatory dashboard for Ala. public schools

Work continues on mandatory dashboard for Ala. public schools
During Thursday’s Alabama State Department of Education meeting, state superintendent Eric Mackey gave an update on the statewide school coronavirus dashboard. He said the process has been delayed because of technical issues. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - During Thursday’s Alabama State Department of Education meeting, state superintendent Eric Mackey gave an update on the statewide school coronavirus dashboard. He said the process has been delayed because of technical issues.

He said the ALSDE offered to help to the Alabama Department of Public Health get it up and running.

The online dashboard was originally scheduled to go live at the end of September. It would be an addition to the COVID-19 dashboard on the APDH’s website and would show the number of positive cases in public schools from K-12.

“One, we want to be fully transparent so people know that there are five cases or 10 cases or 20 cases in this community, so that they fully understand of what the risk is. And, then the opposite reason is also out there,” said Mackey. “And that’s we need people not to overreact. So, sometimes these rumors get out that there’s 100 people positive in a school, and there might actually be three. And so we need full transparency for both reasons. So people take it seriously, but also so people don’t overreact.”

Mackey said he will require all public school systems to submit their data.

Mackey also said he plans to meet with superintendents around the state to work on a plan to get federal COVID-19 aid money spent before the December deadline.

A big chunk of the money is the $170 million from the state that was to be used on tech devices and school health safety resources.

Gov. Kay Ivey said the money must be used by the end of December.

Mackey said he wasn’t concerned about getting the money spent because his early talks with people in Washington indicated that the December deadline might be pushed back to March. However, that was if Congress got that fifth COVID-19 relief package passed.

Mackey said after President Donald Trump’s announcement to end negotiations on the relief package - it’s put education leaders back on the fast track to spend.

“Only about $50 million or less than $50 million has been turned in for reimbursement. There’s a lot more that’s in progress," said Mackey. "We think all the money will be spent. We don’t anticipate reverting any money back.”

Mackey also expressed optimism about how the school year has gone so far. He said the positive test rate for students across the state appears to be below 1%.

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