Alabama schools preparing for the coronavirus

Alabama schools preparing for coronavirus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama schools are still coping with the flu virus as a number of students are out sick, but educators across the state are also getting information and preparing for the coronavirus.

City, county and state school superintendents say they are thankful there are no cases of the coronavirus in Alabama. The Alabama Health Department has sent out information to schools about what they can do to prepare.

Next week schools in Birmingham will be meeting with the Jefferson County Health Department about the issue.

As word of the coronavirus continues to spread across the world, Birmingham Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring is paying close attention to the latest information on the health threat.

“This is really about preparation,” Dr. Herring said.

As a worst case scenario, the health department expects the schools will have to implement a plan if there is a breakout or a pandemic where schools will have to be closed and some students will have to be taught at home.

“If we have to, we are prepared to do that. There are many ways in which we can do that. Technology is the springboard for that as well. I think right now we are being charged to think about that if it’s not already in place," said State School Superintendent Eric Mackey.

Mackey was in Birmingham Thursday. He said it will be up to local school systems to close or not, but that decision may not be easy for some.

“That is simply not a possibility for every school district within the state. The bandwidth is not there. The schools have the bandwidth but all students do not have it,” Mackey said.

Mackey said about a third of Alabama school districts can’t do this. Still the state hopes to be notified if someone may be exposed to the virus. If you have symptoms of the flu and you have a family member who has been out of the country, or exposed to someone out of the country, then they need to let the school nurse know.

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