Updated 11:32 AM; Today 11:32 AM
By Trisha Powell Crain
Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Alabama’s K-12 schools, and for the second week in a row, that number jumped by a lot.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health dashboard, a total of 2,261 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in 125 school districts and three public charter schools. That’s up by 669 cases over last week’s report of 1,592 cases.
The increase comes as cases surge across the state, as Alabama’s 7-day average for new cases has hit new highs several times this week. A number of Alabama schools and districts have temporarily shifted to remote learning due to difficulties staffing classrooms and lunchrooms in the face of rising cases.
The highest number of new cases was reported in Huntsville City Schools, which reported 115 new cases, more than triple last week’s count of 39. Huntsville school officials announced Thursday that the high schools there would shift to a staggered school schedule after seeing an increase in cases. Earlier this week, Huntsville moved several individual schools online.
Tuscaloosa County Schools reported 110 new cases, up from 77 last week. Jefferson County reported 96 cases, up slightly from 87 last week.
The largest jumps in the number of new cases came in the following districts:
- Huntsville City Schools – up 76 cases to 115 this week,
- Madison County Schools – up 69 cases to 85 this week, and
- Etowah County Schools – up 58 cases to 86 this week.
The data reflects the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 self-reported to school officials from Wednesday of the previous week through Tuesday of the current week and does not differentiate between positive cases among students, teachers, and staff. The dashboard is updated on Friday mornings.
Every Alabama school district and charter school is required to report positive cases on the dashboard.
School officials are still asking students and staff to voluntarily report coronavirus cases to schools to not only keep track, but also to ensure close contacts of those testing positive are quarantining for 14 days as required.
Three school districts—Decatur City, Barbour County and Wilcox County—did not report any data on the dashboard.
Here’s what the numbers show this week:
- 17 school districts, all but one in the northern half of the state, saw cases double from the previous week,
- 19 school districts saw fewer cases this week than the previous week,
- 28 school districts and three charter schools reported fewer than 5 cases this week, and
- 10 school districts and two charter schools reported zero cases for the week.
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