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Schools to reopen Tuesday as planned despite high COVID-19 level for area

MADISON – The day before the first students are expected back to Madison school campuses since being shutdown in March, Madison City Schools superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols sought to reassure parents now is the right time.

“All of our teachers, administrators and staffs have worked very hard on all the new procedures and protocols that must now be part of the school day,” Dr. Nichols said in a message to parents on Labor Day.

On Tuesday, elementary campuses will begin the district phase-in of returning students to school. This will occur over the next three weeks, with middle schools reopening in stages beginning Sept. 14 and high schools starting Sept. 21.

On Friday, the Alabama Department of Public Health changed the Madison County infection level from yellow to red. Dr. Nichols said the school district will not change their current plan to return to school.

“It is my understanding from Dr. Karen Landers, Madison County Health Officer, that this change was largely due to universal testing in our retirement home community,” Dr. Nichols explained. “She also expressed to me that Madison County is meeting its testing goals and have less persons seeking care for COVID- like illness, which are two of the factors in the risk indicator.  Currently our rate of reported positive tests is at 8.5 percent. In comparison, a nearby county that is considered a low risk is at 8 percent. If you review the ADPH (Alabama Department of Public Health) data you will find that our rate of positive tests were at 14.5 percent  seven weeks ago.”

Dr. Nichols also said school officials are monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily and will keep parents and the community updated on the information they receive from the ADPH.

The ADPH shows there have been 714 new cases of COVID-19 in Madison County over the past 14 days. There have been 6,397 tests administered during that time.

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