The decision was based on new guidance released today from Jefferson County Health Officer, Dr. Mark Wilson, as well as low percentages of students and staff diagnosed with or quarantining from COVID-19, Freeman said.
“Since the beginning of the school year, approximately 1.25% of students in Vestavia Hills City Schools have had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis as reported by parents, and approximately 5.5% of students have had to quarantine at some point as a result of close contact at school with someone with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. These percentages are almost identical for our faculty and staff,” Freeman said this morning.
“I believe the trends in our percentages have remained low because of the vigilance of our staff and students to implement and follow the plan,” Freeman said.
Dr. Wilson’s statement said the relative risks of COVID-19 transmission versus the benefits of in-person instruction “have shifted to the point that it is now reasonable to consider a more flexible approach going forward.” He also noted that cases of COVID-19 in area schools appear to have come primarily from social activities and gatherings taking place outside of schools.
Families who opted into the VHCS Remote Model, in which students learn from home full-time, will remain in that setting through the end of the first semester. Due to a late start to the school year, the first semester ends on Jan. 15, 2021.
Students participating in the Traditional Model who would like to change to the Remote Model may do so at any time during the semester, Freeman said.