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Superintendent's Weekly Update

September 7, 2021 -- Dear VHCS family,

I want to express my appreciation to our students and staff for their focus in school. Inside the walls of our school buildings, it is abundantly clear that there is a calm and intentional approach by our teachers and staff to make sure our students have a great experience. Students are actively engaged in their classes, teachers, and with each other. Collectively, they are an incredibly positive example of perseverance and adaptability.

On Friday, September 3, 86 students were absent for a COVID-19 positive and 173 absent for a close contact. You can view the attendance dashboard on our website. To date, the most absences in a single day for positives this school year was 102 on Thursday, August 26. The most single-day absences for close contact was 274 on Friday, August 27. Prior to our face mask requirement, those numbers had decreased to 92 and 213, respectively. 

School systems are required to report known COVID-19 positives to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Each week, the ADPH School Dashboard shows school systems’ new cases of students and staff combined.

Last week, we launched a reporting tool that parents can use to provide information to our school nurses when their student has a positive diagnosis. I want to encourage you to use this form to more efficiently communicate this information to our nurses. If your student has a known possible exposure to a person at school with a positive, parents will receive a letter notifying them of this. Students can remain in school as long as they do not have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive. COVID-related absences are excused. 

Face masks are required indoors for all staff, students, and visitors. Our team is routinely evaluating our health and wellness plan to make adjustments as needed. We will continue to prioritize the 4Habits 4Health, physical distancing, indoor air quality, and cleaning/disinfecting as integral components of a long-term strategy committed to a safe and nurturing learning environment.

My next update will be Monday, September 13. 

Todd Freeman, Ed.D.
Vestavia Hills City Schools