SARALAND, Ala (WALA) -- Saraland City Schools reported its first positive case of COVID-19 the day after students returned to class at Saraland High School.

The person who tested positive was at school as recently as Thursday for the district’s first day of class.

Five students are at home in quarantine after possibly being exposed to the positive case at Saraland High School.

Superintendent Dr. Aaron Milner said he has been expecting this.

“We have a new normal,” he said. “This is going to be a marathon.”

Saraland High School

The person tested positive Friday morning after falling ill overnight.

The district immediately started contact tracing for anyone within six feet of the positive individual for more than 15 minutes.

“Our teachers’ efforts in following our protocols desks were spaced as far apart as they could be and we only had five individuals that were within that amount of space,” Milner said.

The school believes the person who tested positive was exposed by a family member and did not get it from school.

Milner said they will continue the stringent cleaning to keep everyone as safe as possible.

“In anything we do we’re taking some risk in being involved in that,” he said. “I make no guarantees and that’s why we’ve offered an online option to every student that wishes to take advantage of that.”

Online classes have reduced the number of students on campus at Saraland High School to about 900 with a little more than 100 staff members.

The school system said students, parents and teachers should not feel unsafe as long as they continue to wear a mask and social distance.

“It will happen again, it will happen in every school system, it’s going to happen anywhere that brings in people on a regular basis,” Milner said.

The superintendent said the students who were sent home will learn online until they can return to class.

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