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Superintendent's Weekly Update

September 27, 2021 -- Dear VHCS family,

The VHCS COVID-19 Dashboard has been updated through last week. On Friday, September 24, 16 students were absent because of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and 23 for close contact, our lowest numbers of the school year. Last week, we had 11 students who tested positive, also our lowest number of the school year. You can determine new cases each week by comparing the total number of students at home for a positive to the previous week. 

The most important part of our health and wellness plan is for staff and students to stay at home when they are sick. Please utilize this electronic form to report when your student has a positive diagnosis. Schools are required to report positive cases to public health when we are informed. 

Parents will continue to receive a notification letter if their student has a potential exposure to someone who has a known positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Students who receive a letter for a potential exposure may remain in school as long as they do not have COVID symptoms or test positive. Students who miss school for exposures or other COVID-related reasons are excused absences. 

We would like to determine our parents’ interest in their students participating in a weekly, voluntary COVID testing program and a potential vaccine clinic. An important point I want to emphasize is that the school system will in no way require any student or staff member to participate in testing or to take the vaccine. Participation would be strictly voluntary.

UAB is partnering with school systems to provide free and voluntary weekly COVID testing for students and staff who are asymptomatic and would like to participate. You can learn more about the program at the UAB Voluntary COVID Testing website. Another potential opportunity we are exploring is offering a vaccine clinic for students. If you are interested in your student voluntarily participating in either or both, please complete our survey when we send it to you. Your response on this upcoming survey will be helpful as we consider these potential opportunities. 

The primary goal for our school system is to have students engaged in learning experiences in a safe and nurturing environment. Because of the unparalleled support our system receives from the community, we are blessed to have excellent nurses, school resources officers, maintenance and custodial staff, bus drivers, teachers, and support staff all committed to this goal. 

My next update will be Monday, October 4. 

Todd Freeman, Ed.D.
Vestavia Hills City Schools