TCHS & COVID-19 - November 6, 2020
November 6, 2020
As you are aware, greater numbers of our students have been identified as close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, either at school or extracurricular activities, over the past week. Following Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines for schools, we have informed these students that they should quarantine for 14 days, and should not return to school or extracurricular activities until this period has ended.
At this time, Tuscaloosa County High School has:
- Approximately 1200 students registered for on-campus learning.
- Approximately 261 students who we have informed this week they should quarantine for 14 days.
- 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our on-campus student population. These students are not at school at this time.
- Less than five staff members out due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or being identified as a close contact.
The current number of known positive COVID-19 cases within TCHS students equates to approximately 2.75 percent of our current on-campus student population. At the high school level, students come in contact with more of their peers, due to extracurricular activities and class changes, as compared to elementary school. This is a contributing factor to the greater numbers of students potentially exposed, when there are positive COVID-19 cases at a high school. It is important to note that sending close contacts home for quarantine is an important practice, identified by public health officials, in preventing further spread of COVID-19. It is also important to note that 261 is the number of students identified as close contacts, not as positive COVID-19 cases.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases within our TCHS student population, and subsequently, the number of students needing to quarantine, is certainly cause for concern. In keeping with the pattern we have seen across our school system since the start of the school year, parent/guardian information indicates to us that the majority of student COVID-19 cases are being contracted outside of school. While we cannot ensure that no one will contract COVID-19 on one of our campuses, we believe the social distancing measures and cleaning practices within our schools are effective. As an added safety measure, we are bringing an additional cleaning crew into our school over the weekend.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our community, and its effects on our school, we ask our students and families to please practice the habits of social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, and cleaning, that we practice in our schools. Your help in this, in the hours you are not at school, is absolutely critical to keeping our school open and our students and educators healthy.
As we move into the holiday season, we ask our TCHS community to please be extremely mindful of the practices health experts say are effective in fighting COVID-19. Again, your support is vital and necessary in achieving our goal of keeping TCHS open for our students. As challenging as this situation is, we do believe we will come out of this time stronger and better prepared to overcome adversity.
Principal, Tuscaloosa County High School
Keri Johnson, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Tuscaloosa County School System
Director of Nursing, Tuscaloosa County School System