BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) – Twenty-one Baldwin County public schools have novel coronavirus-related cases, although not all of them have lab-confirmed infections, according to a report released Friday.
The Baldwin County Public School System issued the “transparency report” giving a snapshot of how COVID-19 might be impacting the first week of school.
“These are NOT people who have COVID, but rather people who were absent or sent home for a countless number of reasons related to COVID, as noted below,” the system said in a statement.
The report combines data from previous days and may not match emails sent by principals to parents, according to the school system. Going forward, officials said, they plan to publish daily reports.
The system indicated that the vast majority – perhaps 90 percent – never entered a school.
The numbers include those who have tested positive for COVID-19, but most are students and employees who might have been exposed to an infected person and are choosing to stay home, and those who reported experiencing symptoms.
The breakdown is as follows:
Baldwin County High School
Bay Minette Elementary School
Bay Minette Middle School
Belforest Elementary School
Daphne High School
Daphne Middle School
Elsanor Elementary School
Fairhope East Elementary School
Fairhope High School
Fairhope Middle School
Foley Elementary School
J. Larry Newton School
Orange Beach Middle/High School
Pine Grove Elementary School
Robertsdale Elementary School
Silverhill Elementary School
Spanish Fort High School
W. J. Carroll Intermediate School
“Parents will be notified at the school level in the evenings,” the school system said in a statement. “For secondary, only by the principal. For elementary, by both the principal school-wide, and the teacher for that classroom.”
Officials said they would not break down the numbers in greater detail out of privacy concerns. The system said it may look to automate the reporting process.
Like schools across the state, Baldwin’s school reopening comes at a challenging time in the struggle to contain the outbreak. The Alabama Department of Public Health reports 3,744 cases of the virus in Baldwin.
Baldwin school officials said they are cleaning classrooms, facilities, buses and other equipment multiple times a day with hospital-grade cleaners. Students must wear masks while on campus, and school authorities are checking temperatures and monitoring symptoms of all employees and students throughout the day.
“We are social distancing where appropriate, washing our hands and sanitizing throughout the day as well,” the system said in the statement. “All of this is being done every day, regardless of whether the school has had any reported absences related to COVID-19.”