School nurses recap after one week using statewide K-12 COVID-19 school dashboard

School nurses on reporting COVID cases

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama K-12 schools are reporting more than 300 new positive COVID-19 cases this week on the statewide school dashboard.

“It’s going pretty good,” Bessemer City Schools Lead Nurse Lashanda Benjamin said.

Benjamin is in charge or reporting positive case numbers to the state. She said the 10 other district nurses report numbers to her daily making it easy to report to the state.

“They usually send me daily reports, so each day I try to be on top of everything that is actually taking place," Benjamin said. “But, usually everyday I get a list of everything that is going on.”

Benjamin said symptoms are not reported.

“You only report positive cases to the state department, only cases that are lab result positive,” Benjamin said. "We aren’t going with symptoms or anything like that, you have to have lab results that say you are positive for COVID-19.”

The state dashboard is updated weekly, so Benjamin sends district numbers every Tuesday. She said it takes about 20 minuets.

“It is actually rather easy," she said. "It is not that difficult to actually get in there and do the work and then get your numbers.”

Benjamin said positive cases on the dashboard don’t necessarily mean students caught the virus at school.

“Most of the reports that we have come across have usually happened after gatherings," she said. “Things like weekends, Halloween, and Thanksgiving is coming up.”

Benjamin said while the dashboard is easy to use, it isn’t a complete accurate representation of the numbers. The numbers reported are accurate, but not every case is reported. Benjamin said parents aren’t required to tell the school district if their student is positive.

“It leaves some room for error, I do believe that, but most parents have been good enough to let us know whether they are quarantined or whether their child is not coming," Benjamin said. “I think that we get more reports than not."

The dashboard does not tell who the positive cases are. The numbers can be among students, teachers, and staff across the entire district.

Click here to view the state dashboard.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.