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Nearly 1,000 Lawrence County students forced to go virtual

After several teachers test positive for COVID-19, admin says there aren’t enough teachers to stay in the classroom
Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 5:22 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Jon Smith tells WAFF 48 News, last week a few teachers at both East Lawrence and Moulton Middle tested positive for COVID-19.

Following contact tracing, up to 12 teachers at each school were sent home, leaving classrooms empty-handed.

“Anytime you have a positive case, chances are you have to quarantine multiple people because they’ve been in close contact with each other. That’s the case, so we simply can’t find enough substitutes to continue school," Smith said.

For the next two weeks, nearly 1,000 students at both East Lawrence Middle and Moulton Middle will learn virtually.

Smith says every student has a tablet and knows how to navigate them.

However, most students don’t have in-home Wi-Fi, so the school system is making adjustments.

“Back during the summer, we extended Wi-Fi into our school parking lots, so parents can pull up into our parking lots stay as long as they need to and access our Wi-Fi. Also there are places in the community like restaurants, and places like Jesse Owens, it’s also available there. Then we’re gonna park buses in strategic locations both in the East Lawrence and Moulton communities," Smith explained.

Smith says buses with Wi-Fi will be available in both communities starting Wednesday.

While students are out of classrooms, deep cleaning will be done at both schools to prepare for students return in two weeks.

He wants to reassure parents they’re doing everything to get kids back in the classroom.

“It breaks my heart in a lot of ways, but ultimately it’s better than them getting sick or exposed to COVID-19," Smith said.

Administrators plan to have all students back in the classroom November 2nd.

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