Baldwin County Public Schools reports almost 250 COVID-19-related absences over Thanksgiving break

By: WKRG Staff

Posted: Nov 30, 2020 / 08:54 PM CST / Updated: Nov 30, 2020 / 10:11 PM CST

A teacher wearing a protective mask and face shield looks at the work of a student at an elementary school in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. San Francisco officials said the city has approved 20 schools for reopening out of the total 60 reopening applications that have already been submitted.

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Baldwin County Public Schools reported 248 COVID-19 related absences over the Thanksgiving break.

Out of those, 88 were students in Fairhope. We asked Mayor Sherry Sullivan for comment – given crowd at The Lighting of the Trees a week-and-a-half ago, who told us “I don’t think you can trace that to the Tree Lighting.” She added that it appeared the crowd was more full of families with young children than high school students.

The transparency report for the holiday notes that no one was in the schools Monday or the preceding 10 days. The list is a result of people who notified the school system that they or their child was out with COVID-19 symptoms, contact traced or COVID-19 positiive.

Below is the transparency report on COVID absences in Baldwin County Public Schools. These are NOT people who have COVID, but rather people who were absent or sent home for a countless number of reasons related to COVID, as noted below.

A few important notes:

  1. We will only report new instances per day, not cumulative. 
  2. Those in this count may not be on our campuses, some may have never entered our schools. Parents have been calling to let us know their child is out and why their child is out. Some may be quarantined at home with parents. 
  3. These numbers include students and employees.
  4. Not all of these are people who have tested positive for COVID. These numbers do include people who are confirmed positive for COVID, but most will be those who might have been exposed and are choosing to stay home or who might only have symptoms.
  5. Parents will be notified at the school level in the evenings. For secondary, only by the principal. For elementary, by both the principal school-wide, and the teacher for that classroom.
  6. The information here will not be broken down further because of privacy issues. We will do our best to keep the media up to date on this data as we have it to release but we may look for an automated way to process this going forward.
Baldwin County High School17
Bay Minette Elementary School5
Belforest Elementary School1
Central Baldwin Middle School1
Daphne High School9
Daphne Middle School11
Elberta Elementary School8
Elberta High School4
Elberta Middle School1
Elsanor Elementary School2
Fairhope East Elementary School21
Fairhope High School40
Fairhope Middle School14
Fairhope West Elementary School13
Foley High School11
Foley Middle School2
J. Larry Newton School11
Loxley Elementary School3
Magnolia School7
Orange Beach Elementary School8
Orange Beach Middle/High School6
Robertsdale Elementary School2
Robertsdale High School2
Rockwell Elementary School6
Rosinton Elementary School3
Spanish Fort Elementary School7
Spanish Fort High School7
Spanish Fort Middle School3
Stapleton School2
Summerdale School2
W.J. Carroll Intermediate School1
Bay Minette Middle School7
Florence B. Mathis Elementary School5
Foley Elementary School3
Daphne East Elementary School2
Belforest Elementary School1

The Baldwin County School System is treating schools as though they have COVID-19 students in the building every day because the vast majority of children under 18 are asymptomatic. Classrooms and facilities are cleaned multiple times a day with hospital-grade cleaners, as well as buses and equipment. Students are wearing masks or face shields at all times while on campus unless they are performing a specific task. Schools check temperatures and monitor for symptoms of all employees and students throughout the day. Students and employees are social distancing where appropriate, washing their hands and sanitizing throughout the day as well. All of this is being done every day, regardless of whether the school has had any reported absences related to COVID-19.