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Parents react to BCS COVID policies

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 7:03 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - While many schools in our area are closing because of COVID, Birmingham City Schools has managed to keep its doors open.

But some parents said they’d like to hear more communication about what’s being done to keep in-person learning going.

One mom is giving kudos to district leaders for their continued efforts to keep in-person learning going, but she said chatter among parents shows the number of COVID cases doesn’t add up to the district’s numbers.

A spokesperson for Birmingham City Schools says only 1.4% of the student population is COVID positive.

According to the BCS COVID-19 Dashboard, 304 students and 103 staff members have tested positive for COVID district-wide since January 14th.

But BCS parent, Lachelle Adams, believes the numbers are likely higher.

“Kids operate and learn at a higher level with in-class instruction. However, I am a little concerned that we do have a large number of kids that are testing positive for COVID and we’re not receiving any information on that.”

Adams is basing this on a group chat she shares with other parents.

She said there are about 90 or so members who post daily, and many of the messages are about possible exposures that she said the district isn’t communicating to parents.

“In the past, I’ve followed the numbers weekly, and they’re not lining up based on the numbers I’m receiving from parents from various schools. So, if the number of parents that are saying my kid is positive is higher than the number that’s being reported and I’m only talking to parents at a couple of schools than there’s an issue with reporting,” Adams said.

She admits she doesn’t know if all parents are reporting positive cases to BCS.

At-home COVID tests are often not reported to health departments.

Adams said overall, she’s pleased with what the district is doing to keep schools open, including the mask mandate.

She said it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep students healthy even when they’re away from school.

Adams said she’d like to see the district’s COVID-19 dashboard updated more frequently and would like the district to send home notices when students are exposed to COVID.

In a statement, a spokesperson from BCS said, “Parents whose children may have been exposed to COVID 19 are notified. Please know that public schools in Alabama and throughout the country are bound by laws that prevent the disclosure of certain medical information.” The spokesperson added, “We ask employees and parents to voluntarily report positive cases to us. Public schools in Alabama do not have the authority to mandate the reporting of positive COVID-19 cases.

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