Cullman Co. Superintendent has questions about guidance from Alabama Department of Public Health

ADPH guidelines on reopening schools

CULLMAN CO., Ala. (WBRC) - Cullman County’s superintendent has more questions after meeting with the Alabama Department of Public Health about guidance for opening up schools. The meeting Tuesday was to give schools a direction of how to open safely, but the superintendent said he needs more information.

“I will be honest with you, it was a little disappointing because it was very confusing. They didn’t seem confident with what they were sharing with us. They seemed to be going back and forth on some different things,” Shane Barnette, Cullman County School Superintendent said.

A major issue was the 6-15 rule. If a student or teacher is within six feet, for 15 minutes or longer, of someone who tested positive for coronavirus, they should be quarantined for 14 days even if they were wearing masks.

“If you are within six feet for 15 minutes or more and they test positive, you are considered exposed. What it has been in the past is if you had a mask on you were not considered exposed,” Barnette said.

Another concern is about when a student or teacher will have to take time off if they were exposed.

“If they wait five days, show no symptoms, they can go get a test and if they test negative they can go back to school or to work. Yesterday they shared with us they have to quarantined for 14 days even if they test negative,” Barnette said.

Dr. Wesley Willeford with the Jefferson County Health Department also watched the presentation. Willeford believes the guidance is necessary. “I think the guidance they gave was very clear. It’s going to be forward thinking as we try to get schools open. We know if a few cases of COVID comes to school it could spread very quickly,” Willeford said.

Barnette understands the health department is doing all it can to protect students and teachers but he hopes the Alabama Education Department provides more clarifications today or by the end of the week.

Some schools open even with alternative schedules around August 20th.

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