COVID in schools comes at no surprise

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 21, 2020

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In July, when the Chambers County School District first announced it was allowing two instruction options for students this year, we wrote an editorial telling parents to think big picture.

In that editorial, we said that parents needed to read over and be comfortable with CCSD’ procedures for handling a positive COVID-19 case.

We warned that it was almost impossible to imagine a scenario where there would be no cases of COVID-19 in the school system, even as early as day one.

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That’s what happens when you have 55,000 students in a school system like Mobile County or even 3,400 in the case of CCSD. The odds are that at least one student has COVID-19, considering the percentages.

In that editorial, we urged parents to consider how they’d react when there was a positive case at CCSD. Although we understand some parents have to work and didn’t have a choice as to whether or not send their children back to school, many did and had to decide between the virtual academy or in-person instruction.

Whatever was selected, we urged parents and students to do their homework and be comfortable with it.

On Monday afternoon, we learned that a virtual CCSD student that attends one period of in-person instruction at Inspire Academy tested positive. By the Tuesday CCSD Board Meeting, Hodge said a total of six students had not started the school year because they were in quarantine, four had tested positive and 20 more were sent home because of exposure to those who’d tested positive. 

The positive cases shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. We knew they were probably coming, even this early, so we ask that any concerned parents take a deep breath and trust that the schools are following the correct protocols to keep students safe.

We are going to continue to report on positive cases, as the public deserves to be informed. Despite the opinions of some of our social media commenters, we report on these cases to inform, not to entice any fear. Our job is to inform the community, and we’ll continue to do so with facts.

It’s also important to note that all four cases likely came away from the school system, meaning those students had already been exposed when they went to school for the first day of classes.

We have no idea the specific nature of each of those cases, nor do we know if or when any symptoms were exhibited.

However, those cases do serve as a reminder of the importance of parent responsibility to check temperatures, monitor symptoms and keep students’ home if a child might have COVID-19.

We knew there were going to be cases in the school system this year, and now parents need to trust in their decision to send children to school and allow CCSD to follow its protocols that will keep students safe.