Huntsville, Madison schools prepare for possible coronavirus outbreak

Huntsville and Madison City schools say they are monitoring the situation.

Posted: Mar 10, 2020 7:46 AM
Updated: Mar 10, 2020 9:19 AM

The Alabama Department of Public Health says it performed at least 10 tests for coronavirus over the weekend. 

Thankfully, all of those tests came back negative and Alabama still has no cases. But with 12 states already declaring a state of emergency, local school systems are putting plans in place to keep students safe.

The Huntsville City School District sent a letter home to parents detailing a contingency plan for school trips, activities and possible closures.

Right now, Huntsville City Schools has no plans to close since there are no reported cases in the state. But if that changes, they plan to continue curriculum at home using district-issued laptops and programs already in place.

They have went ahead and canceled all international trips this month and have canceled a few domestic school trips. They will continue to evaluate each trip as new information is received.

For now, the district is monitoring developments within the state and will only put the plan into action if necessary.

The Madison City Schools system says it also continues to monitor the situation and how to respond to best protect students and the community. You can read a letter from the superintendent here.

Here is the letter from Huntsville City Schools in full:

Dear HCS Family,

I am writing to update you about our efforts concerning coronavirus (COVID-19). The Huntsville City Board of Education and I hold the safety and health of our students, staff, families, and community above all else. With that in mind, my team and I have been working in anticipation of the implementation of measures like those we have seen from other state governments and school systems from around the country.

Being Prepared

Although the State of Alabama has not yet declared a state of emergency, in those states where such a declaration has occurred, school has not been canceled statewide. Instead, each district has made their own local decision based on the presence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their community. We anticipate that a similar approach would be taken in Alabama. Given that we have not had a confirmed case in our community, we are not at this time planning to close schools. My team has developed contingency plans to serve our students while minimizing the risk of exposure to and spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), discussed below.

Instruction During An Extended School Closure

Given the rapidly changing nature of this serious health concern, we must be prepared for the possibility of a short-notice closure of schools. To do this, my team is working with schools to ensure that students are able to continue their coursework at home in the event of a school closure.

As you know, our students in grades three through twelve have access to district-issued laptops and currently use Clever and Canvas in their classes. These programs allow our students to access daily instruction and to complete course work. To ensure consistency for our students, our contingency plan will include the use of these familiar programs. Our teachers are trained on these platforms, and they will be able to use these programs to help our students in the event of a school closure.

The District will place assignments on the District’s webpage for students in kindergarten through second grade. If needed, teachers will provide families with additional instructions needed to complete the assignments.

For students with limited access to the internet, our contingency plan calls for the use of hard copy materials. Please let your teacher know if you will need access to hard copies.

International School Trips

Given the circumstances in the countries our students were planning to visit and the increasing number of issues here, all international school trips for the rest of March are canceled. I understand the frustration that many of you may feel about this, but we believe this is the best decision for our students. Our schools are aware of this cancellation. If you have any questions, please reach out to the faculty sponsor of the trip or your school principal.

Domestic School Trips

As I mentioned in my earlier letter, we are evaluating each trip on a case-by-case basis. We are continuing to monitor information shared by the World Health Organization, the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. State Department, the Alabama State Department of Education, and the Alabama State Department of Public Health, and basing our decisions on what we believe to be in the best interest of student safety. Although we have canceled few trips at this time, we will continue to evaluate each trip as new information is received. Schools will share specific information about field trips with their families.

This is subject to change with relatively short notice. If this changes, your school will let you know as soon as possible.

Extracurricular Activities (Sports, Performances, etc.)

One of the main reasons for the measures in this letter is to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to protect our most vulnerable populations. Once a community has confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important to minimize the number of large gatherings. There are many normal spring school activities that lead to large gatherings including sporting events, choral and theater performances, Greenpower events, etc.

If we become aware of a risk of exposure, we will take steps to limit or temporarily cancel extracurricular activities. This may include total cancellation of events. As with other things discussed in this letter, we will let you know as soon as possible of any cancellations.

Regarding rescheduling of events, the AHSAA just released guidance for districts. That guidance included the rescheduling of games with playoff implications. Our schools have been informed of this guidance, and our athletic directors for each school will work with the District team to reschedule these games.

Link to AHSAA letter: http://www.ahsaa.com/Portals/0/MEMO-%20COVID-19%20v1.pdf

Conclusion

As always, thank you for your commitment to our schools, and thank you for working with us. We will do our best to update you as quickly as possible during this situation.

For updates please see: https://www.huntsvillecityschools.org/coronavirus

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 522512

Reported Deaths: 10790
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson755371494
Mobile39129799
Madison34124500
Tuscaloosa25408444
Montgomery24059573
Shelby23225242
Baldwin20730302
Lee15638166
Calhoun14358311
Morgan14171273
Etowah13705348
Marshall12012220
Houston10416279
Elmore10024203
Limestone9862148
Cullman9509191
St. Clair9486236
Lauderdale9280233
DeKalb8762183
Talladega8127173
Walker7151276
Autauga6763106
Jackson6762110
Blount6532133
Colbert6236132
Coffee5436113
Dale4781111
Russell431239
Franklin421382
Chilton4130110
Covington4069115
Tallapoosa3922148
Escambia390374
Dallas3528150
Chambers3519122
Clarke347360
Marion3076100
Pike306676
Lawrence296395
Winston273272
Bibb256761
Marengo248561
Geneva246475
Pickens233259
Barbour227155
Hale218675
Butler213268
Fayette209660
Henry188444
Cherokee182744
Randolph177841
Monroe173140
Washington165538
Macon156548
Clay150255
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne147041
Lamar140034
Lowndes137353
Wilcox124727
Bullock122040
Conecuh109728
Perry107726
Sumter103332
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 835842

Reported Deaths: 12081
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby930851587
Davidson88030924
Knox49813624
Hamilton43402485
Rutherford42319420
Williamson27545216
Sumner23492341
Montgomery19623224
Wilson18472229
Out of TN1803295
Unassigned16760132
Sullivan16184287
Blount15180194
Bradley14599147
Washington14177242
Maury13211169
Sevier13166175
Putnam11168173
Madison10789241
Robertson9607130
Anderson8627171
Hamblen8498171
Greene7739152
Tipton7226104
Coffee6831121
Dickson6734109
Cumberland6568127
Carter6468156
Bedford6426129
Gibson6402144
McMinn636597
Roane6191102
Jefferson6073121
Loudon601669
Lawrence580686
Hawkins5781106
Monroe570995
Warren551381
Dyer5361104
Franklin508688
Fayette492178
Obion450296
Cheatham444454
Cocke443798
Rhea431275
Lincoln430663
Marshall411158
Campbell409662
Weakley402862
Giles395399
Henderson372975
Macon358077
Carroll357582
White354868
Hardin349766
Hardeman346464
Lauderdale314444
Henry312475
Marion309946
Claiborne306273
Scott305545
Overton296961
Wayne294334
Hickman280546
McNairy276854
DeKalb275653
Smith274838
Haywood268361
Grainger259149
Trousdale249022
Morgan246039
Fentress238546
Johnson231638
Bledsoe209711
Chester209451
Crockett201048
Polk200024
Unicoi194549
Cannon188931
Union186034
Grundy177933
Humphreys174221
Lake169526
Sequatchie166728
Benton163240
Decatur157338
Lewis155826
Meigs134823
Stewart130828
Jackson129935
Clay109031
Houston108533
Perry105728
Moore100017
Van Buren83421
Pickett75624
Hancock54912

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