Alabama State Department of Education meets to discuss fate of schools

State Superintendent, Dr. Eric Mackey, introduced a list of steps to improve remote learning, including: getting electronic devices for students, training teachers, and improving connectivity in rural areas.

Posted: Jul 14, 2020 5:33 PM
Updated: Jul 14, 2020 8:05 PM

The clock is ticking for parents deciding if they want to send their children back to traditional schools or learn at home because of coronavirus.

On Tuesday, parents hoped the Alabama Board of Education would figure out how to help keep students safe and get the best education possible. That did not happen.

The board met Tuesday and spoke about the issues for more than six hours.

The board spent the first three hours arguing about safety steps but never reached an agreement. Fast forward a few hours and there’s still no set plan, just ideas and recommendations.

The board is arguing about the best ways to use about $100 million in federal funding to keep as many students and teachers Coronavirus free as possible, plans on what to do if anyone shows symptoms and how to make sure every family can access high speed internet.

Sen. Jim McClendon proposed a plan to put an isolation unit in each school across the state. Students suspected of having Coronavirus would be put in them until parents could pick them up from school. The state board of education argued a lack of nurses and other logistical issues could stop that from being realistic.

In terms of WiFi, State Superintendent Eric Mackey wants to spend $48 million to buy mobile hot-spots for schools. He introduced a list of steps to improve remote learning, including: getting electronic devices for students, training teachers, and improving connectivity in rural areas.

Back on the safety front, the state also ordered 2.5 million reusable masks for students and staff in schools.

Officials say the State Department of Education cannot require students to wear masks, but the state health officer, governor, local municipalities and local school boards can make that decision.

After a few hours, a lack of decisions started to frustrate people involved.

"It seems like there is a lack of leadership if we don't say something that's more concrete from the state board of education," said Alabama Board of Education member Tommie Stewart.

"Dr. Stewart, we don't have the legal authority to implement that. It would have to come from a governmental agency," said Deputy State Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd.

After hearing comments from senators at the beginning of the meeting, Gov. Kay Ivey asked that Mackey revise the re-opening plan by this Friday.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 685321

Reported Deaths: 8391
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby761671128
Davidson70706661
Knox38646393
Hamilton34556326
Rutherford33114283
Unassigned22759126
Williamson21364138
Sumner18205230
Out of TN1612079
Wilson14405155
Montgomery14367149
Sullivan12577211
Washington11889191
Blount11887124
Maury10941123
Bradley1075190
Sevier10461108
Putnam9931136
Madison9099178
Robertson761885
Hamblen6954109
Anderson6759102
Greene6569108
Tipton619065
Gibson5630111
Coffee560681
Cumberland537872
Dickson534678
Bedford532086
Roane519179
Carter5091112
Lawrence507569
McMinn506673
Warren497553
Loudon493750
Jefferson474975
Dyer473682
Monroe455162
Hawkins444968
Franklin410758
Obion399478
Fayette396251
Rhea381556
Lincoln378344
Marshall343536
Cocke342856
Weakley339448
Cheatham335230
Henderson332056
Campbell323940
Giles321071
White310043
Hardeman308752
Carroll307859
Hardin297647
Lauderdale293131
Macon287350
Wayne260719
Henry260358
Overton252942
DeKalb241741
Haywood239745
McNairy238142
Smith230527
Trousdale228714
Marion227731
Scott225231
Hickman222734
Fentress212531
Claiborne210129
Grainger208135
Johnson201532
Morgan188614
Crockett180338
Bledsoe174110
Chester173237
Unicoi166843
Cannon157019
Lake155319
Decatur147226
Polk142817
Grundy139320
Union138721
Sequatchie136518
Humphreys132617
Benton131935
Lewis127220
Meigs114016
Stewart105220
Jackson103721
Perry94725
Houston93922
Clay93726
Moore7959
Pickett67619
Van Buren6587
Hancock4026

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