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
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 65°
Florence
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Fayetteville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 65°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 63°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 228744

Reported Deaths: 2909
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby33996551
Davidson29425325
Knox1167986
Hamilton10983102
Rutherford10866106
Williamson648448
Sumner5551107
Wilson431853
Putnam407952
Montgomery378451
Out of TN361834
Madison359978
Unassigned35753
Bradley336821
Sevier312420
Sullivan310344
Blount306731
Washington299143
Maury297635
Robertson246239
Hamblen231643
Tipton217122
Gibson203537
Dyer199526
Hardeman177332
Trousdale17277
Coffee172020
Obion163017
Bedford157320
Wayne15537
Anderson154413
Dickson153518
Loudon152510
Fayette150521
Greene149249
Cumberland147724
McMinn147132
Jefferson144518
Lawrence142917
Weakley142925
Carter139832
Henderson134625
Warren13269
Monroe131923
Hardin130219
Lauderdale129218
Macon125524
Franklin119015
Haywood118325
Roane11696
Overton110611
Carroll108624
McNairy108325
Hawkins108023
Johnson10786
White107014
Marshall10238
Rhea102016
Lake9623
Cheatham95511
Smith93013
Bledsoe9174
Cocke91312
Giles88031
Campbell8497
Fentress8467
Lincoln7942
Crockett75120
Henry73610
Hickman72713
Chester71014
Marion6849
DeKalb66916
Decatur62011
Grainger5264
Grundy5048
Claiborne4926
Union4902
Polk46013
Jackson4155
Morgan4046
Humphreys4024
Benton3829
Cannon3812
Houston37914
Clay3629
Unicoi3461
Lewis3292
Sequatchie3214
Scott3144
Stewart3057
Meigs2904
Moore2412
Pickett2405
Perry1961
Van Buren1911
Hancock1123

Community Events