Bipartisan group of lawmakers slam state’s back-to-school plan

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A bipartisan group of Alabama lawmakers is expressing major concerns about the state’s back-to-school plan. They’re saying the plan doesn’t go far enough to protect students and teachers.

In the fall, students will return to class under a new normal and safety is at the top of mind for many.

“Kids, teachers are not gonna be safe because there’s no requirement for testing,” Sen. Bobby Singleton said.

Some lawmakers are asking the Department of Education to create a COVID-19 testing system for K-12 schools.

“We’re not trying to tell schools how to have school, even when they should start school, but we are making sure that our kids are safe,” Singleton said.

Last month, Gov. Kay Ivey announced a $30 million plan to test college students.

The program — Testing for Alabama and Stay Safe Together — will be implemented by a coalition led by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The platforms will support public institutions of higher education to enhance safety on campus during the pandemic, and may later support businesses and other entities.

“Not a dime has been allocated to do anything to help K-12,” Sen. Jim McClendon said.

This group of lawmakers is also asking for things like 300 more school nurses, isolation centers and temperature checks before entering school buildings.

“You’ve got to isolate them from the rest of the kids, leaving them in the same HVAC system, it’s like being on an airplane with somebody with smallpox, you know,” McClendon said.

Singleton and McClendon plan to present their proposals to the department of education next week.


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