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School age children making up most of Jefferson County’s COVID cases

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 9:13 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - ADPH data shows that 611 Birmingham City School teachers and students are COVID positive this week, with around 10% of the district’s staff not showing up today.

Doctors said Jefferson County has a very high rate of community transmission, meaning it’s really easy to catch out in public. Experts said this wave is infecting those in schools more.

“The number one goal from all of us is to keep kids in school,” Dr. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Health Department said. “With the high rate of community spread, you are seeing a lot of absenteeism from staff.”

Dr. Hicks said this variant is infecting more school age children than Delta, and that means it’s also infecting more teachers.

“For the past week in Jefferson county, age 10 to 19 is actually the highest portion of the cases that we are seeing,” Hicks said. “After that, its the age 30 to 39.”

After two days of virtual learning because of sick staff, Birmingham City Schools are trying to find ways to keep kids and teachers in the classroom.

“We know our employees and parents have a lot of anxiety around this pandemic,” Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan said. “Around 30 to 50 more employees worked today than there were yesterday.”

Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan said 90% of staff worked Thursday.

ADPH data shows that 611 students and faculty are COVID positive this week, but experts said you can’t necessarily blame in person learning.

“If we are out in the general public, we are going to get exposed,” Hicks said.

“It’s hard for me to say the spread is happening in the schools when there is so much protection in the schools,” Sullivan said. “We can not say the school is the place COVID is being spread, when COVID is in the community.”

Sullivan said latest survey numbers show about sixty percent of students aren’t vaccinated, but health experts said that is the best way to keep students and teachers COVID free and in the classroom.

“Have your child fully vaccinated and boosted and wearing a mask in school,” Hicks said.

Teachers with the district are calling for more PPE and better ways to stay protected against the virus. Dr. Sullivan said they are working to make sure each teacher has what they need and will be increasing PPE deliveries to each school.

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