Parents in Vestavia Hills hope district will self-report COVID data

Vestavia Hills parents want to see school COVID-19 numbers

VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WBRC) - Some Vestavia Hills City Schools parents are hopeful their district will release COVID case numbers to the public as state leaders continue to work on a COVID school dashboard.

“It’s curiosity to know how many students or teachers have had it,”said parent Brian Authement.

Authement has two elementary students enrolled in traditional learning in Vestavia Hills. He says his family isn’t demanding the district release the data, but feels it should come out because it could helpful for parents.

“If they have information about cases," said Authement, “then parents could make a more informed decision.”

And some other parents agree. that the release of raw COVID numbers could be good for transparency sake.

“Numbers. I think if they can give numbers that would be good to know. Just to know within the community,” said parent Karl Julian.

Julian has three children enrolled in the district. His students are working virtually. While Julian says the release of total positive COVID cases could be good, he cautions that the release of COVID positivity rates by districts could be misleading.

The positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive out of the total number of people tested. He says because districts aren’t testing every student low reports could give a false sense of safety.

“Transparency is great, but metrics are concerning,” said Julian. “If you’re not testing everyone, you’re not able to say much, other than what people are reporting and that’s a big difference.”

He says expert advice from scientists should help guide school leaders' - and everyone’s - decisions about next steps.

WBRC reached out to Vestavia Hills City Schools leaders to find out if they plan to release data. District leaders say they anticipate the state and county taking over reporting cases within the next few days.

The latest numbers released to WBRC from the district, which were shared during this week’s school board meeting, were given as a total positive case load based on student population. According to the district 1.25% of students have had a positive COVID diagnosis at some point since the start of school on August 20th.

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