Local schools continue to struggle with COVID

Published: Sep. 5, 2021 at 1:03 PM CDT
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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Many local schools continue to struggle with a large number of students infected with COVID-19. Health experts are concerned about the long-term effects of the disease on children and the extent to which even undiagnosed students are spreading the virus.

398 students and staff reported testing positive in Morgan County last week. Another 337 are in quarantine due to close contact with an infected person.

Decatur City Schools reported 128 active COVID cases among students on Friday. That is down from 131 the previous week. The number of staff with confirmed cases increased from 13 last week to 17 on Friday.

Deputy Superintendent Dwight Satterfield said, Benjamin Davis Elementary went virtual on Thursday and plans to return to in-person classes sometime this week.

Oak Park Elementary had the highest number of staff testing positive, 8% are in quarantine, according to the Decatur Daily.

Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers said on Thursday, the Delta variant is having a more prolonged effect on some infected school-age children than earlier versions of the virus.

Landers said that cases in children are different this year due to the presence of “long COVID.” Children with long COVID have symptoms such as brain fog, inability to concentrate, sleeping issues and fatigue.

“Last year, kids did well with COVID-19 and didn’t have to be hospitalized,” Landers said at a news conference Thursday. “This year 6-to-10% of kids may have long COVID.”

According to Landers, 24.8% of COVID cases in the last four weeks have been children.

“I am concerned about the significant numbers of children there are with positive cases in the state of Alabama,” she said.

According to State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, there were more than 9,000 COVID cases in Alabama public schools the week ending on August 27.

He said that anytime a student tests positive, the parents should report it to the school nurse.

“We’ve been getting reports that there are parents in Alabama that are taking their kids to get tested, which comes back positive, then they take the kids back to school without notifying us,” Mackey said.

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