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Superintendent's Weekly Update

October 25, 2021 -- Dear VHCS family,

The VHCS COVID-19 Dashboard has been updated through last week. On Friday, October 22,  7 students were absent because of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and 6 for close contact. The school system as well as individual schools are now listed as having less than ten students absent for a positive or close contact at the end of the week. Last week, we had 6 news students who tested positive. 

Beginning Monday, November 1, we will modify the data dashboard to show only the number of new positive cases for the week as submitted to the ADPH. Should we need to expand the dashboard in the future, we will certainly do that. This will also be my last weekly update. Instead, I will provide periodic updates as needed of any changes to our health and wellness plan.

Indoor assemblies are now allowed and cafeteria seating can be increased. We are anxious to begin allowing parents to join their children for lunch. However, our schools need to first assess cafeteria spaces with increased numbers of students before hosting parents. It has been since March, 2020 that we operated cafeterias with larger capacities so I appreciate your patience for a little while longer.

We will not institute the voluntary COVID testing plan at this time. The team at UAB that we have worked with has been excellent and consummate professionals in providing information and assistance to us as we considered this option. Voluntary testing is something that we can utilize in the future should there be a need. 

Based on the interest indicated in the parent survey, we are still considering offering a voluntary vaccination clinic for students once the FDA gives emergency use approval. In addition, we plan to offer a clinic for staff members to receive a booster once it becomes available for our employees. 

The most important part of our health and wellness plan is for staff and students to stay at home when they are sick. Please continue to 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 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. 

The next update of our data will be Monday, November 1.

Todd Freeman, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Vestavia Hills City Schools