BREAKING NEWS Alabama adds 798 new coronavirus cases; 134,231 cases confirmed since March Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Huntsville City Schools discuss returning to the classroom this month

During Thursday's board of education meeting, the administration discussed the FY2021 budget and the return to school.

Posted: Sep 4, 2020 12:31 AM
Updated: Sep 4, 2020 7:09 AM

During a two-hour school board meeting Thursday night, members of the Huntsville City Schools administration walked through the numerous steps being taken to mitigate the spread of coronavirus as they prepare to welcome students back this month.

The first students, kindergarten through eighth grade, will return on Monday, September 14, and high school students will come back the following Monday, September 21.

Types of coronavirus symptoms:

  • Major symptoms
    • New cough
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Minor symptoms
    • Fever or chills
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting 
    • Diarrhea
    • Fatigue 
The Huntsville City School Board of Education discussed a number of ways that they are working to protect students when they come back to the classroom later this month. The Huntsville City School Board of Education discussed a number of ways that they are working to protect students when they come back to the classroom later this month.

Parents have until September 9 to decide whether they want their kids to continue on the virtual path or return to in-classroom learning, using the school system's staggered schedule.

Parents who initially chose the traditional option for their student(s) can attend remotely up until October 26, when they have to return to the classroom.

"I'm torn because I want to give my kids an adequate education, but I'm not a teacher. I can only get them so far," said parent Elizabeth Briggs.

Briggs has seven children who are still in the school system. She said she will likely send some of them back, like one of her daughters who is a senior, but may keep others learning remotely, since they have asthma.

She works in a salon and can set her own hours. She said that flexibility is a luxury that not all parents have.

"But for those who don't have that option, who have to get up and go to work every day, and they're having to leave their older children to watch their younger children that go to school, it's hard," Briggs said.

During Thursday's meeting, the board went over what the return will look like. Parents will be receiving information about which days their student(s) will be in attendance no later than September 4.

They also talked about what staff members should do if they start showing potential symptoms of coronavirus. The district's policy is they should not report to work/school:

If one or more symptoms of coronavirus

Has been exposed to someone with coronavirus within the last 14 days

Has received a positive diagnosis of coronavirus, within the last 10 days, even if they are without symptoms

Has been tested for coronavirus and is awaiting results

School officials said one of the ways they will help track contacts is using the “6/15 Rule,” which defines “close contact” as “an individual who has been within 6 feet of a person with at least one major symptom or a diagnosis of COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes. The 15 minutes is cumulative over a 24-hour period.”

They also stated that anyone who is exposed to someone with major symptoms “will be sent home and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and must self-quarantine for 14 days. Persons remaining in a household with a positive person will have to self-quarantine for a longer period.”

District officials also talked about other changes, like loading buses from the back to the front and walking through how students will be able to access meals during the day.

Luke Allen, a parent who spoke before the board on Thursday, thanked them for their work, but argued that the school system should find a way to allow students to return to the classroom five days a week.

“It's been demonstrated throughout the state and the nation and we've yet to do it here with our public schools and it's time that Huntsville City Schools tries to do it,” Allen said.

However, the administration defended its current plan, which includes ordering 8,300 plastic dividers for students below the high school level and, is the best course of action, given the circumstances.

“Even after 27 years in the Army and two wars, I have never seen an environment of as rigorous and constant risk assessment as I have seen here in Huntsville City Schools since March 13 when this all happened,” said Jeff Wilson, the director of operations for Huntsville City Schools.

Superintendent Christie Finley said the district is in close contact with Huntsville Hospital regarding any rise in cases, especially around the Labor Day holiday.

She said tracking the numbers will help to inform when it will be safe to offer a full, five-day in-class option for students.

For more information on the return to school plan, click here.

Huntsville
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Florence
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Scottsboro
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19441349
Mobile13271291
Montgomery8778179
Madison775480
Tuscaloosa7496119
Shelby584951
Lee582961
Baldwin516550
Marshall390944
Calhoun346641
Etowah342047
Morgan325428
Houston278123
Elmore263247
DeKalb239120
Walker228483
St. Clair227837
Talladega212728
Limestone206120
Cullman188519
Dallas177426
Franklin175529
Russell17442
Autauga173825
Lauderdale168233
Colbert163626
Blount159415
Escambia158425
Jackson154611
Chilton153531
Dale135444
Covington134427
Coffee13078
Pike11879
Chambers115142
Tallapoosa114685
Clarke107717
Marion95729
Butler91339
Barbour8577
Winston73712
Marengo70820
Lowndes65327
Pickens65114
Bibb64210
Randolph63713
Hale62828
Lawrence60922
Geneva5995
Bullock59814
Cherokee59115
Monroe5818
Clay5707
Washington55613
Perry5407
Conecuh53111
Crenshaw53132
Wilcox53111
Henry4865
Macon48020
Fayette4438
Sumter43419
Lamar3632
Choctaw34612
Cleburne3396
Greene30315
Coosa1673
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 187690

Reported Deaths: 2312
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30460452
Davidson26252298
Hamilton928791
Knox918175
Rutherford915088
Williamson516536
Sumner475896
Wilson341844
Putnam320139
Montgomery302244
Out of TN296825
Unassigned29145
Bradley289317
Madison280061
Sevier257015
Blount247723
Maury230923
Washington223935
Robertson219035
Sullivan212133
Hamblen188525
Tipton178118
Trousdale16517
Gibson160922
Hardeman154826
Wayne14905
Bedford132017
Dyer131813
Dickson123515
Cumberland117518
Fayette117418
Coffee116613
Weakley115719
Anderson115312
Henderson115322
Carter114728
Obion11389
Loudon11356
Greene112943
McMinn110025
Jefferson109714
Macon103520
Warren10267
Monroe102217
Lawrence101211
Hardin100516
Lauderdale95915
Haywood95418
Franklin9518
Lake9142
Roane8724
Carroll85819
Bledsoe8494
McNairy84218
White8139
Cheatham80610
Rhea79812
Hawkins78316
Cocke7419
Marshall7415
Overton7135
Smith69810
Johnson6752
Henry6139
Chester60910
Lincoln6031
Giles58017
Hickman5585
DeKalb55213
Crockett52919
Marion5187
Decatur5037
Fentress4713
Claiborne4405
Campbell4314
Polk38210
Grainger3633
Union3471
Benton3349
Jackson3175
Morgan3113
Unicoi2831
Cannon2800
Grundy2685
Humphreys2443
Sequatchie2293
Meigs2233
Clay2205
Houston2083
Scott2072
Stewart1902
Lewis1851
Moore1641
Van Buren1600
Perry1490
Pickett1102
Hancock1063

Community Events