A surge in COVID-19 cases in Alabama after the July 4 holiday had some school officials rethinking their plans to start school this month and scrambling for options. Now some are eyeing a revised calendar to start after Labor Day, but health officials are quick to point out that cases will likely rise shortly thereafter.
Alabama has seen a slight reduction in cases, leading health officials to express cautious optimism that the situation is improving under the governor’s mandatory mask order that lasts through the end of August.
However, schools in other areas may serve as a bellwether for systems that have delayed reopening.
Last week, a student at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, was suspended after she took a photograph of a clutch of students crowding a school hallway, most without masks. Her suspension was reversed later, and the school system’s superintendent conceded that the photo “didn’t look good,” but defended the plan for students to return to class, which included a recommendation but not a mandate for mask use.
Should cases spike among Dallas, Georgia, students in the next two weeks, area school officials should take that into consideration with their own plans.
Student instruction must go on. But for the sake of the kids and everyone in contact with them, it must go on safely.
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