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Marengo County Board of Education hears updates on COVID-19 cases at Sweetwater, Marengo, AL Johnson

The recent Marengo County Board of Education meeting on Thursday, August 26 discussed COVID-19 updates from Sweetwater, Marengo, and A.L. Johnson high schools.

County Lead Nurse Kimberly Luker, via ZOOM, provided the board with COVID-19 updates on the three county schools. Luker said that where they were last year was a “totally different ballgame” from where they are now.

Last year consisted of an emergency order from Gov. Key Ivey, schools were allowed to quarantine students and send them home if they were considered close contact, and the vaccine was still in the early stages and hadn’t been publicly released. Luker said a total of over 300 students were sent home last year after being identified as being a close contact. Out of those 300 plus students sent home, only one student actually became positive after being sent home.

As of now, the numbers are not very high across the three county schools. At Sweetwater, there are 11 positive cases, with 38 individuals in isolation. Two staff members are positive, and one staff member is in isolation due to being a close contact. At A.L. Johnson, two students and one staff member are in isolation, but there are no positive cases. Marengo has two positive students, four in isolation, and no positive staff members. The term “isolation” is now being used in place of “quarantine” because school systems no longer have the authority to quarantine students or faculty.

The county is following the ADPH guidelines when it comes to dealing with COVID-19 in the schools. The ADPH guidelines include wearing masks, keeping three feet of distance between individuals, and ADPH is responsible for contact tracing.

COVID-19 resources for the schools include custodians who have been trained on how to use the cleaning machines, and bus drivers who have been trained on cleaning procedures. Inventory on paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer, wipes, gloves, and masks have been distributed. UV lamps are still in place to sanitize classrooms.

Air purifiers have been ordered and should arrive within the next few days. First Aid Kits have also been ordered for teachers and will arrive soon. Superintendent Luke Hallmark has also secured 80 additional cases of hand sanitizer for the district.