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BCS announces next steps for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 5:08 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham City Schools is joining with several entities to provide COVID-19 education, vaccinations and testing throughout the school district.

School Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan made the announcement Monday.

BCS will begin this week offering pop-up clinics at specific high schools and middle schools throughout the district.

Pop-up clinic

On Saturday, August 28, the district will collaborate with the UAB Office of Minority Health and Research Center in a rally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Legion Field featuring Charles Barkley.

“We want all of our eligible students to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated,” Sullivan said. “Already we have had to cancel a football game because of the impact of COVID-19. Hundreds of students have been excluded from class for several days because they were exposed to COVID-19 and were not vaccinated. We don’t want to see our children or employees sick or hospitalized when there is an option for avoiding some of that pain and discomfort.”

Sullivan said students throughout the district will be encouraged to get vaccinated Saturday at Legion Field, and he is hoping that Parker High School students and their families who live nearby will take advantage of the opportunity.

Covid Conversations

In addition to the pop-up clinics, BCS will launch a series called COVID Conversations to educate parents and students about the virus and vaccinations. The first COVID Conversations session for parents will be at Parker High School on Wednesday, August 25. A limited group will participate in a discussion with local and national medical professionals. Others can view the session on the school district’s livestream at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Another session will be held with school students participating in a discussion with medical professionals at 10 a.m. Thursday, August 26. This will be broadcast on the district’s Livestream platform.

Covid Testing

In late September, the district will begin offering COVID-19 testing in schools, through a partnership with the UAB Department of Public Health.

“COVID-19 continues to hold a grip on Birmingham and Jefferson County and we must do more together,” Sullivan said.

Just last week, almost 200 BCS students and 31 employees tested positive for COVID 19. About 500 were excluded from class or work because they were exposed. Also last week, 18 George Washington Carver High School students tested positive and four were excluded from class because of COVID-19 exposure. No teachers at the school tested positive or required exclusion. There was a similar scenario at Huffman High School. Five students tested positive last week and 37 were excluded from class. Again, no teachers tested positive.

“Science tells us that vaccines are safe and effective in battling COVID-19,” Sullivan said. “These numbers I’ve just shared provide further evidence. So we must continue to encourage our students and their families to get vaccinated so students can have in-person learning in a safe and healthy environment.”

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