Cullman County Schools release updated COVID-19 numbers

(Cullman Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. – Cullman County Schools has more than 10% of its district students out of school due to a confirmed positive test, or due to a student being a close contact.

Student Data through 4:00 p.m. Friday, August 27:

• COVID positive: 198

• Close contact: 820

• Total: 1,018 or 10.8%

Current enrollment K-12 is 9,425.

The numbers above reflect a change in calculation criteria. Previously, unexcused absences were also included in calculations because many (but not all) of those absences were known to be students who are pending a test or are having symptoms. A lot of these instances are an example of a parent doing what they are supposed to do… keeping a child at home if they have symptoms. Once a parent confirms a positive test and notifies the school, that child is then factored into the positive number. The CCBOE appreciates those parents who are being proactive by not sending students with symptoms to school.

Regardless of the criteria, high numbers have been seen in Good Hope and at Parkside. Those campuses are closed as previously reported. Numbers are increasing across the district, and it is possible more campuses will go remote. While masks are not popular, they are strongly advised for everyone to wear. If your child attends a school where COVID percentages are over 15 %, masks are required, which has been communicated by each individual school principal.

Cullman County Schools does not have legal authority to require infected or exposed persons to quarantine. That authority is through the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). The district, however, does have authority to prevent infected or exposed persons from entering school campuses. In a letter this week to superintendents, State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said, “The ADPH has received reports that some school systems are identifying and then notifying close contacts but not excluding those persons from campus. If a close contact is identified, school systems are required to exclude them from campus.” Cullman County Schools is following the state policy and will continue to identify close contacts and require a student or staff member to be off campus for 10 days from the date of exposure.

Child Development Center

Due to high COVID numbers, the Child Development Center (CDC) will be closed beginning Monday, August 30. The CDC will reopen Monday, September 13.

In addition to three students testing positive and 43 students identified as close contacts, a total of 12 CDC staff members are out due to COVID (8 positive, four close contacts).