Alabama schools report 13,000 COVID-19 cases in two-week period

Alabama schools reported 13,000 coronavirus cases in a two-week period on Friday, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama State Department of Education.

The data shows a total of 9,195 cases were recorded this week in schools across the state, and 4,337 cases reported in the previous week. 

The number could be higher, because only 84 of the 143 school districts have reported their data, according to the dashboard. 

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Alabama does not have a statewide school mask mandate in place, but 90 percent of schools have chosen to implement a mask mandate on their own, according to The Associated Press.

Children aged 5-16 have accounted for 21 percent of new coronavirus cases in the state over the past weeks, with the delta variant overloading the state’s health care system.

Superintendent Eric Mackey highlighted the number of cases from schools on Thursday during an event with the Medical Association in Alabama. 

“We had dozens of students sent home on the first day of school, and then more and more,” Mackey said. “Now we have scores of campuses that are closed to in-person instruction.”

Mackey stated that schools are trying their hardest to stay open after students scored poorly on standardized tests scores in 2020. 

“They are going to be significantly down across the board,” he said, according to AP. “That’s what we expected. It’s what we predicted, and we hope that we can turn that around this year.”

The news from Alabama comes as tens of thousands of students around the country have had to quarantine after going back to school due to exposure to the coronavirus. 

Alabama has confirmed more than 714,000 coronavirus cases throughout the pandemic with more than 12,000 deaths.