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Demopolis City Schools pauses student operations due to Covid-19

Good Afternoon,
Since August 20th, when we started this school year, we’ve asked ourselves these two questions daily in relation to having school during a pandemic:  1. Do we have enough staff to cover/teach classes? and 2. By leaving schools open, are we contributing to a spread of COVID-19? Until returning from Thanksgiving Break, we have been able to operate comfortably considering these two questions. However, the spread of COVID in our area since returning from Thanksgiving is to the point where we need to pause all student operations until January 4th, 2021.
Next week, students will not report to school and will begin their Christmas break 3 and 1/2 days early. Employees will still report to school next week. Below is a chart that we used to help come to this decision.
Student COVID-19 Cases
School Positive Cases Potential Cases Close Contact Quarantines
DHS 8 1 72
DMS 4 5 115
U.S Jones 1 4 15
WES 0 5 28
Total 13 15 230
Staff COVID-19 Cases
School
Positive
Cases
Potential
Cases
Close Contact
Quarantines
DHS 1 0 5
DMS 1 0 2
U.S. Jones 1 0 0
WES 3 0 6
Total 6 0 13
 
Specific details on finishing the semester, closing out grades, and semester exams will come from each school. My office will file for an exemption from the State Department of Education in relation to making up the missed three and a half school days. If the exemption is not granted, then the days will be made up prior to the end of the school year or added to the end of the school year. 
 
In most situations, our positive cases are stemming from events that have taken place outside of school. As a reminder, if someone in your household has COVID-19 or you are waiting on COVID-19 test results, your household needs to quarantine. In this situation, please do not send your child to school. And If you were within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or longer within 24 hours of that person testing positive or showing COVID-19 symptoms (then testing positive), you need to quarantine. If we follow these rules, we can minimize the number of students we have to send home for fourteen days who may not have COVID-19 but have been identified as a close contact to a person who has tested positive.
How else can you help?
• Make sure you wear a mask while in public.
• Make sure your mask covers your nose and mouth.
• Make sure you wash your hands frequently.
• Do not share food or drinks with others.
• Make sure you cover when you cough or sneeze.
• Frequently wash winter coats, jackets, cardigans, etc…
• Do not attend social gatherings. If you do, be sure you and others wear masks and practice social distancing.
It is imperative that we take precautions and follow these tips over the Christmas break.  If our positive COVID numbers continue to trend upward, we will be forced to move to remote learning which is not what we want for the students we serve or our employees.
Kyle Kallhoff, Superintendent
Demopolis City Schools