Cities, school systems announce plans to stop spread of coronavirus

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Chambers County cities and the two local public-school systems released information Monday on measures meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.     

The city of Valley is taking precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

Mayor Leonard Riley announced via a press release Monday that the city was closing the Valley Community Center and the Valley Senior Center. The press release recommended that anyone who goes to the senior center on a daily basis to eat should call the Senior Center at (334) 756-5256 or the Community Center at (334) 756-5290 to arrange meal pickup between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Meals may also be delivered.

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Valley City Hall is also remaining open, with the staff taking precautions when interacting with the public.

“For an unknown period of time, all Americans will have to endure some inconvenience and imposition due to the nature of this new novel virus affecting the world,” Riley said. “The length of time this takes will depend on each of us coming together and doing our part to try to prevent the further spreading of the virus. Americans are a resilient people who have been through rough times and other crises and emerged stronger and wiser. If we remain calm, be cautious and use these common-sense precautions advised by the experts in the fields of infectious diseases, we will make it through this crisis, too.”

The city of Lanett is asking residents to be off the roadways by 11 p.m.

Lanett is temporarily closing its recreation department until further notice and city hall will have limited access, according to a press release from the city.

The city announced the new measures on Monday in response to the coronavirus in a press release signed by Mayor Kyle McCoy.

All spring sports and activities in Lanett have been postponed until further notice, according to the press release. The senior nutrition program will remain open unless otherwise mandated by the state.

“This is due to concerns that the seniors continue to receive their daily meals,” McCoy said. “The senior transit bus trips will be limited to doctor visits, grocery store trips and travel to pharmacies.”

McCoy said utility customers are encouraged to utilize the drive-thru window, make online payments and call the customer service line at (334) 644-2141 when possible.

The citizens of Lanett are also encouraged to limit their travel, stay at home as much as possible or at least be home and off the streets by 11 p.m. each night.

“This will help to protect citizens as well as police, firemen and other emergency personnel by avoiding unnecessary contact.

Both school systems — the Chambers County School District and Lanett City School System — also announced more information as schools prepare to close later this week in response to the coronavirus.

According to a press release from the Chambers County School District, a telephone survey conducted Monday morning indicated that around 25 percent of students that receive daily meals at school wish to have that service continued during the shutdown period from March 19 through April 6. The school system will prepare the meals in Valley and LaFayette, and they will be carried to school sites via buses for pickup. The specific schedule for distribution is currently being finalized and will be released by the end of day on Tuesday.

Twelve-month employees will be working flexible schedules from home as much as possible, according to the press release.

“Information will be conveyed via email, and it will be the responsibility of those employees to check their inboxes on a daily basis,” the press release said.

According to directions received from the Alabama State Department of Education, all school-sponsored activities during the statewide school closure are now suspended through April 30. The most recent issued guidance allows activities sanctioned by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) to continue only through Tuesday, March 17.

Parents of students who need medication stored in a school nurses’ office must pick those items up before the end of the school day on Wednesday.

“While some school districts have already suspended their operations, we will continue our original plan to close Chambers County schools effective Thursday, March 19, 2020,” said Chambers County School Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge. “This will provide us the time necessary to complete all final arrangements pertaining to the shutdown while also giving parents ample opportunity to schedule any childcare that may be necessary.”

The Lanett City School System closed schools at the end of the day on Monday, according to a press release from the school system.

“Lanett City Schools (LCS) continues to monitor the ongoing developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Student and staff safety remain a top priority for us,” said the press release signed by Superintendent Jennifer Boyd. “In light of new developments, including cases being reported in neighboring counties, we will accelerate our school closure plan. Lanett City Schools will close at the end of the school day on Monday, March 16, 2020, and remain closed until the Alabama State Department of Education has authorized schools to reopen.”

The school system also announced its child nutrition program, which will allow families to pick up breakfast and lunch for free at Lanett High School/Lanett Junior High and W.O. Lance Elementary School during the closure period.

Meals will be served between 11 a.m. and noon on the following days:

  • Thursday, March 19
  • Friday, March 20
  • Monday, March 23
  • Tuesday, March 24
  • Wednesday, March 25
  • Thursday, March 26
  • Friday, March 27

Children must be present in order for meals to be provided and meals will be free to all children. Drive-thru at Lanett High/Jr. High will be located at the front entrance of the school beside the cafeteria. W.O. Lance drive-thru location will be at the Pre-K entrance. Parents are asked to stay in their car and meals will be passed through based on the number of children in the car.