State Superintendent concerned about winter months for in-person learning

Concerns about schools going into new semester

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey says he has concerns about COVID’s impact on schools over the next few months and the ability to maintain full in person learning.

“We think it’s going to be a very difficult winter,” said Dr. Mackey, “I think the next few months will be critical and it’s going to be hard to keep all our schools open for in person instruction.”

Even before the winter break, COVID case reports in schools were rising. There were 3,255 COVID cases recorded the week of December 11. 97 more cases were added to the school COVID dashboard the following week.

“We were at a crisis point in the middle of the summer and we’re now seeing double infection rate daily than we had in the middle of the summer. Schools are a reflection of the community,” said Dr. Mackey.

“Over the Christmas holiday, we were monitoring the ADPH Dashboard and you could see the steadily increase of 100 new cases daily in St. Clair County and that was concerning,” said Mike Howard, St. Clair County Schools Superintendent.

Saint Clair County students worked virtually for the first full week after the holiday break as a safety precaution. Leaders staggered the schedule this week and students will return to the classroom full time next week. The local superintendent says principals will monitor each community to determine learning schedules moving forward, but education leaders from the top down anticipate adjustments could come as cases in Alabama continue to rise.

“We’ll do the best we can. Some will be hybrid schedules, some will open, some will close,” said Dr. Mackey.

“Understanding this month and next month are projected to be the worst two months since the outbreak began, we’ll have to plan for that.”

The state is expected to update the school COVID dashboard today.

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