Leaders in Madison County discuss return to school

Leaders said they're confident schools are doing what they can to stop the spread of the virus.

Posted: Aug 12, 2020 8:16 PM

WAAY 31 asked area leaders at Huntsville City Hall on Wednesday about the return to school.

David Spillers, Huntsville Hospital CEO, and Paul Finley, mayor of Madison, both said they support the school districts heading back to traditional schools, but it's inevitable we will see students in schools test positive for coronavirus. It's something we’re already seeing at schools back in session.

"We're going to continue to hear cases as kids get together, and they're doing everything they can to plan for that to prepare for that. I think we are just going to have to deal with that," Finley said.

"I'm only concerned about it because there is more people engaging with each other, but I'm not overly concerned about it because I trust the people who are managing the process, Spillers added.

Some schools in North Alabama and in Lincoln County, Tenn., started in the last two weeks. Two schools in Lawrence County did not open Wednesday because of newly confirmed coronavirus cases. There are at least six confirmed cases at three schools in Lincoln County and about 100 students and staff in quarantine.

Spillers said he thinks the cases started before students went back to school.

"I think Lincoln County had a little spike before school started, so my guess is a lot of these positive cases had nothing to do with school. They were in the community and they just happened to show up when people started to go back to school," he said.

Alabama’s Department of Public Health said all school systems need to contract trace and identify anyone in contact with someone who has the virus.

Spillers said what happens in the next month with another holidayand students in school will show if the virus is under control in the area.

"We really need to manage Labor Day and hopefully the school systems will manage the students coming in and those two things won't create another blip in the system, so that we're sitting here a month or 6 weeks from now with another problem on our hands," he said.

All three school districts in Madison County are starting the school year virtual, but officials from Huntsville City have said students might be able to head back for in person instruction before the end of the first nine weeks depending on what is happening with the virus.

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