What to ask your kids about school in a pandemic

What to ask your kids about school in a pandemic

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Jones Valley Elementary School
Parents of Huntsville children who attend public schools like Jones Valley Elementary School were advised today to ask their children detailed questions when schools reopen to learn how things are really going.

The head of a Huntsville hospital had advice for parents today about making sure their children are safe at school during the coronavirus pandemic. The key word was “details,” and that’s what parents want to hear when the kids come home from their first days back in class.

Madison city schools open Wednesday, Huntsville city schools open Aug. 17 and Madison County schools open Aug. 19.

“Asking if the child feels safe at school, talking about masking and making sure their child is compliant and understands the gravity of complying with the masks and social distancing,” Crestwood Hospital CEO Dr. Pam Hudson advised in responding to a question in a COVID-19 update by local leaders.

Hudson suggested “detailed questions” such as: “How are you doing recess? How are you doing lunchroom? Are you allowed to take your mask off to go to the bathroom?”

“You’ll get some tips that might be helpful as feedback to the school.” she said. “Teachers have a very difficult job because they’re responsible for watching over the compliance of the kids as well as each other.”

Hudson said it “may be near impossible to be compliant 100 percent of the time” without paying close attention to each other. “The goal here is to contain,” Hudson said. “We know the virus is in our community.”

It is, but Huntsville has seen “a significant drop” in cases the past two weeks and may have peaked in new cases per day, Mayor Tommy Battle said. “If you want to look at trend lines, we peaked probably July 21, 20 days ago, with 2,038 cases for the (previous) 14 days,” Battle said. Since then, the city has seen a “significant drop” recording 1,002 new cases for the last 14 days.

“Why is our system working so much better?” Battle asked. He credited the local hospital system and the community for “taking this very seriously.”

“We have a smart population that is following through with what we need to do,” he said referring to masks and social distancing. “We as a community have to continue to do this. It is not a choice.”

Asked about the local economy, Battle said the city’s gauge is sales tax revenue. It is “very steady” with “maybe even a little increase over last year,” Battle said. “Madison, same thing.”

Home improvement stores and “big box” retailers like Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club are “doing well,” Battle said. Second-tier businesses owned by locals “are the ones we need to make sure we help out,” the mayor said.

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