MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — More than 500 students at Madison City Schools tested positive for COVID-19 over the last week. That number represents 4% of total student enrollment in the school system.

In a district update Sunday evening, Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said 524 students, along with 88 teachers, tested positive for the virus. Approximately 10% of the school system’s staff was out last week due to COVID-19 or personal reasons. Nichols said almost half of those staff members who were out will be back this week.

“While this percentage may not seem high, it does not reflect the staff and students quarantined due to being a close contact,” Nichols stated.

Madison City Schools is one of the few North Alabama school systems that are not on remote learning this week. Instead, the school system is staying in-person, but still requiring masks.

“Keeping kids in school is my primary goal both for our student’s learning needs and their family logistics,” Nichols continued. “However, I know sometimes that is not possible. So, I will just say that our entire system is doing our best to balance how and when to move our schools from the in-person setting based on outside events.”

Madison City Schools will be on virtual learning for the next two Fridays, January 28 and February 4. Nichols said the schedule change gives school teams a chance to prepare lesson materials and review data.

“Hopefully, we can continue to hold our in-person platform; however, we will continue to monitor the COVID issue and are flexible to make changes in our schedule as needed,” Nichols concluded.

For an updated list of school systems moving to virtual learning in the wake of the Omicron variant, click here.