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MADISON, Ala. — Less than two weeks into the new school year, Madison City Schools is reporting more than 100 students have tested positive for COVID-19.

Superintendent Ed Nichols says the spike is close to the previous peak in positive cases the district saw in January and February of 2021. On Sunday August 15, the district announced changes to slow the spread of the virus.

“While its frustrating and emotions are high our goal is to keep moving forward and giving that in school instruction. The last thing we want to do is to go to a hybrid of virtual for everybody. We’ve been there and we are trying our best to stay away from that,” says Superintendent Ed Nichols.

Madison City Schools Superintendent Ed Nichols says it is their goal to keep kids in the classroom full time. While the district is preparing for hybrid learning, they are working to avoid it.

“I think everybody so wanted this to be over. From the superintendent across, everybody. And we are here again. It’s frustrating,” says Nichols.

MCS is reevaluating school schedules to assist social distancing during the school day to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re going to look at how we can separate kids when they get to school in the morning and how we can look at lunch time maybe rotating groups into the cafeteria in a way we can spread them out and they can still have that lunch time activity,” says Nichols.

Nichols says what drove them to hybrid schedules and virtual learning in the 2020-2021 school year was not the number of positive cases, but the number of people in quarantine.

2021-2022 School guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health says in a k-12 school setting students may reduce social distancing to 3 feet if all individuals are masked. Nichols says that lowers the number of kids they have to send home through the close contact and quarantine procedures.

“Everybody said last year they could handle the positive cases but they couldn’t handle the quarantining. That the number of those were just really a challenge at the school level, challenge for staff, challenge for kids at home losing instruction and so my goal this year was to try to use the ADPH changes to mitigate that and keep most of our kids in school,” says Nichols.

Current policy states students in the school system are required to wear masks at indoor facilities and on buses. Students who do not adhere to masking and other COVID-19 protocols will be subject to consequences according to the school’s code of student conducts.