Gov. declares schools closed for the remainder of year
labama Gov. Kay Ivey, joined by Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey and Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, declared schools throughout the state be closed for the remainder of the school year.
“On March 19, I signed a state of emergency and joined these two leaders to announce that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we would be suspending school until April 6,” said Ivey. “Folks, we had hoped at that time that taking these cautious steps would allow us to be able to welcome students back to into the classroom. As the virus continues to spread, today I have signed a supplemental state of emergency that will allow Dr. Mackey and his team to provide instruction from home, starting April 6, for the remainder of the school year.”
The Governor said that the decision to close the state’s schools for the remainder of the year didn’t come lightly.
“[This decision] has been made with a tremendous amount of concern and discussion,” said Ivey.
Ivey said that while nothing can replace the interaction between a teacher and a student a classroom setting, it remains important that students receive access to high quality instruction to maintain a competitive edge academically.
“Certainly, we will be dealing with the fallout from COVID-19 in our health and economy, but the one thing we want to prevent from happening is the tremendous slide in our student’s learning and our student’s achievement,” said Ivey. “We’re doing the best we can with the things we have to maintain the delivery of high quality instruction through alternative methods. All of this will be done with a focus on equity to ensure that we are calling upon every resource we have to close the gaps that we can for each student.”
“This health crisis is unprecedented in our time,” said Mackey. “We’ve never had to shut down so many schools for such a long period of time. And yet, Governor Ivey’s leadership has been stable and strong and she has made it clear that the health and safety of our students are paramount and they must be our first priority and her order today makes that continue to be the first priority.”
Mackey while there are many concerns about students being out of the classroom including an extended “summer slide” in student’s academic performance and a lack of resources in some areas, all possible measure will be taken to see students succeed.
“What I want to ensure our parents teachers and administrators out there is that we are working diligently-with our local superintendents and their teams to make sure that there is a plan in place for every school, for every child, to close out their school year, graduate our seniors on time or very close to on time and that they will be moving on to that next step to the next grade or the next step after high school.”
After Mackey’s comments, Harris delivered a brief update about the current status of those infected with the virus across the state.
According to Harris, the number of confirmed cases has reached “just past 500” [as of 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon] and that the median age of infected people is 47-years-old.
“Around [75 percent] of those are between the age of 19 and 64 so it appears to be affecting people of many different age ranges,” said Harris. “This really is serious illness. We really plead with Alabamians to take this serious, to understand the importance of social distancing and that staying at home can really save the lives of you and your family members.”
As the number of those infected with COVID-19 rises, Ivey said there are still no immediate plans to order a state-wide “shelter in place” as 21 other states have done across the U.S.
“We will continue to work with Dr. Harris and other medical experts to determine the next course of action for Alabama,” said Ivey. “But y’all, we are not Louisiana, we are not New York State, we are not California and right now is not the time to order up people to shelter in place.”