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MADISON, Ala. — Madison City Schools reported 89 positive cases of COVID-19 last week, the highest number the district has ever had.

In a district update on Friday, Superintendent Ed Nichols said the many positive cases have resulted in nurses and other school personnel contacting “close contacts” of each case.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) defines close contacts as anyone who was within six feet of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 for longer than 15 minutes. Close contacts are encouraged to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

Nichols said those identified as close contacts will be excluded from school and school activities for 14 days unless they have been vaccinated or tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, per ADPH’s most recent guidance.

Parents whose students are excluded from school must contact their child’s teacher to receive academic assignments either via Schoology or through paper copies picked up at the school.

“Due to the fact that we have masks and have done our best to spread students out where possible, the number of students excluded from school in relation to these positives is significantly lower than we saw last year when students were quarantined,” Nichols said.

“Remember to monitor your children and do not send them to school if they have COVID symptoms,” Nichols concluded.

Since August 3, students and staff members at Madison City Schools are required to wear masks or face coverings in indoor facilities and on school buses.

Nichols said the systemwide mask mandate will be reevaluated “no later than Labor Day.”