ADPH Urges Continued COVID-19 Safety Measures in Schools, Despite Drop in Cases
The Alabama Department of Public Health on Tuesday urged schools to continue following COVID-19 safety measures, despite the recent drop in cases.
In a statement, ADPH says that the majority of counties in the state continue to have high, moderate or substantial levels of disease.
It says, “COVID-19 transmission levels in the community, along with vaccine levels, healthcare capacity, surveillance testing, and in-school reported outbreaks or cases should all be considered prior to changes in the layered mitigation used in the school setting. Layered mitigation, including universal masking, good hand hygiene, social distancing of at least three feet or to the extent possible, along with environmental cleaning, and improved ventilation, are important measures to keep children, staff and teachers safe.”
ADPH says face masks in schools has helped reduce the number of cases of COVID-19, allowed schools remain open to in-person learning, and helped prevent the consequences of this serious disease.
ADPH pediatrician Dr. Karen Landers, who is the Medical Officer with ADPH, says she is most concerned that COVID-19 cases in children are declining at a slower rate, with school-age children representing almost 15% of recently reported cases. This is during a time when some schools are on fall break, thus allowing cases to appear to be falsely lower than actual cases.
Landers also expresses concern that at least 19 children were hospitalized with COVID-19, as of October 14 with three in intensive care and two on ventilators.
The most recent ADPH school dashboard shows that there are 1,167 COVID-19 cases in Alabama schools, among systems that have reported to the state. That is down from 1,911 the prior week. The dashboard doesn’t specify whether the cases involve students, teachers or staff members.
The state of Alabama allows local school districts to decide for themselves how best to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.