January 15 Data Update on COVID-19 & Our Schools
January 15, 2021
From the Office of the Superintendent
To Our TCSS Families, Faculty, Staff, and Community,
As we first shared with you on September 3, the Tuscaloosa County School System is compiling data regarding COVID-19 and its impact on our schools. Although there are many aspects of student, employee, and health-related information we are unable to share publicly, due to the need to protect the privacy of individuals, there is information we can and want to share with you. This is a way to keep our community informed of the current COVID-19 situation within our schools. If a student or faculty/staff member is identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case within the school, they will be contacted directly by their school.
The information below reflects cases from January 4 - 15, 2021. This information is compiled by our TCSS Department of Health Services, working in conjunction with administration at local schools. Scroll to the bottom of this page for all previous updates.
We are aware of 190 TCSS students or employees who tested positive for COVID-19 during the January 4 through January 15 time period. TCSS has approximately 19,000 students, enrolled across 34 schools, with 2,275 faculty/staff members. Our most recent data showed 84 percent of our students as on-campus learners. Based on this figure, the 190 positive COVID-19 cases represent 1 percent of our current on-campus student and employee population.
During this time period, a total of 713 students or employees have had to quarantine, due to possible COVID-19 exposure. This is approximately 3.9 percent of our current on-campus student and employee population. TCSS identified these individuals following Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines. They were not identified because they displayed COVID-19 symptoms, but because they were determined to be close contacts of positive cases within our schools.
As of December 11, ADPH has updated guidance for schools to allow for a ten-day quarantine period for those identified as close contacts, but who do not show symptoms. Visit this page for more information.
Of the 190 positive cases, all schools had 12 or fewer cases, except for Tuscaloosa County High School (24 cases) and Hillcrest High School (17 cases). These two schools are the largest schools in our system, with approximately 1600 (TCHS) and 1300 (Hillcrest) students each.
Below is a further breakdown:
Between 12 and 10 confirmed positive cases: Two schools
Between 9 and 5 confirmed positive cases: 14 schools
Between 4 and 1 confirmed positive cases: 13 schools
Zero confirmed positive cases: Three schools
At this time, we do not have a total number of faculty/staff who have quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure since the start of school. However, the total numbers of positive COVID-19 cases and individuals who have had to quarantine during this time period (numbers noted above in paragraphs three and four) include faculty and staff members. COVID-related absences, on top of the other typical reasons for employee absences, create a greater need for substitutes. We encourage anyone who is available and wants to support our schools to consider becoming a substitute teacher, substitute nurse, or filling another role as a substitute in our schools. This is one of the most impactful ways someone can help our schools right now. Information on becoming a substitute is available on the front page of our TCSS web site.
Even though we continue to face many challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are glad to be back for a new year and new semester, working together to overcome these challenges. We are thankful for the hard work of so many that allows us to continue serving our students and families.