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State superintendent says plan to reopen schools met with positive response, but challenges are ahead

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said reactions to the guidelines have been favorable.

Posted: Jul 7, 2020 7:43 AM

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey released a roadmap to reopening Alabama schools on June 26, largely leaving decisions on individual school plans up to local school boards and superintendents.

Mackey said reactions to the state guidelines have been favorable.

“The response has been very positive. People like having some local discretion and yet also having some true guidance from the State Department of Education,” he said.

Mackey says local leaders have been asking ‘what if’ questions regarding the guidelines in the reopening plan.

“We have three webinars over the next few days to help local principals and curriculum directors fill in their understanding so they can best help make the roadmap happen on the ground,” he said.

Despite positive reception, many difficult barriers lie ahead for students and staff, especially as school closures and quarantines may occur only in certain parts of the state.

“There’s no questions we’re going to have to deal with large gaps in learning and achievement over the next few months,” Mackey said. “There will be additional gaps if we do have to have large scale closures over the coming years, so we’ve done what we can to try to mitigate that, but I have said and I truly believe it will take us 2-3 years to really get beyond the impacts of coronavirus on schools.”

Beyond increased stress for students and teachers with new learning formats, Mackey says the focus on health and sanitary measures to combat coronavirus adds pressure to school nurses.

“We are very worried about the increased burden on our nurses. We are seeking some additional money to hire more nurses across the state and also to extend nurse contracts,” Mackey said.

The problem, however, is even if granted the money, Mackey says they are unsure of how many nurses are available for hire due to their increased demand in the healthcare system.

With all the uncertainty during this difficult time, what parents and guardians can be certain of according to Mackey is the support and encouragement of their students' teachers.

“Teachers care deeply about the children that come into their classrooms. They cared deeply about those children before COVID-19 and they still do now and if anything, those teachers are even more concerned about the health and welfare and social wellbeing and development of those children,” Mackey said. “You should continue to have faith in the same people who have loved and cared for your children pre-COVID-19.”

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 101496

Reported Deaths: 1821
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13463261
Mobile10671216
Montgomery6955153
Madison551035
Tuscaloosa432780
Unassigned398568
Baldwin371029
Shelby336137
Marshall319938
Lee272447
Morgan242520
Etowah219034
DeKalb185214
Calhoun182819
Elmore176739
Walker154865
Houston145013
Russell13912
Limestone137813
St. Clair137520
Dallas134725
Franklin130822
Cullman123812
Colbert122518
Lauderdale120320
Autauga118822
Escambia109417
Jackson10724
Talladega106914
Tallapoosa87679
Dale85029
Chambers84838
Chilton8279
Blount8255
Clarke82110
Coffee7796
Butler77336
Covington74621
Pike7167
Marion58726
Barbour5816
Lowndes57524
Marengo56817
Bullock49211
Hale48826
Winston45711
Bibb4535
Washington44913
Perry4464
Wilcox43610
Monroe4246
Pickens41110
Randolph40311
Conecuh39410
Sumter36618
Lawrence3563
Macon34114
Crenshaw3318
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2798
Clay2775
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25311
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 126393

Reported Deaths: 1289
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby23785315
Davidson21044221
Rutherford671956
Hamilton640855
Knox485240
Williamson365626
Sumner350173
Unassigned31243
Out of TN290418
Wilson237423
Montgomery201514
Bradley201315
Sevier19169
Putnam184018
Robertson158720
Trousdale15836
Hamblen142515
Washington13522
Blount133315
Maury12998
Madison122221
Tipton121710
Sullivan107515
Hardeman96818
Bedford94011
Macon87013
Lake7960
Loudon7743
Gibson7498
Dickson7183
Fayette7188
Bledsoe7172
Anderson7116
Dyer6798
Henderson6262
Cheatham6079
Obion5984
Jefferson5964
Lawrence5937
Coffee5733
McMinn56720
Carter5646
Rhea5472
Warren5454
Greene5249
Lauderdale5239
Haywood5227
Weakley5034
Hawkins50010
Roane4962
Hardin4868
Cocke4855
Cumberland4836
Smith4614
Monroe4589
McNairy3976
Giles39113
DeKalb3691
Franklin3434
Carroll3415
Lincoln3201
Marshall3104
White3105
Johnson3070
Henry3030
Claiborne2810
Crockett2775
Hickman2760
Campbell2571
Chester2302
Marion2305
Wayne2302
Overton2211
Decatur2183
Polk2134
Grainger2060
Unicoi1750
Union1650
Benton1611
Cannon1570
Humphreys1313
Jackson1311
Morgan1301
Scott1242
Grundy1222
Sequatchie1131
Meigs1090
Fentress980
Clay830
Perry830
Hancock822
Stewart790
Lewis761
Moore640
Houston620
Pickett401
Van Buren370

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