School systems address student absence policy for March 16-18

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

Local school systems have announced they will excuse student absences for Monday, March 16, through Wednesday, March 18.

Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency on March 13 and ordered all public schools in Alabama to be closed for two-and-a-half weeks starting at close of business on Wednesday, March 18, due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“Many questions are being raised regarding student absences for Monday March 16th – Wednesday March 18th. Our directive from the Alabama Department of Education was that these days would be normal school days,” Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks wrote in a March 14 post on the SCS Facebook page. “We understand that some of you have already made plans for child care and may not feel comfortable sending your child to school at all next week. As such our schools will be prepared to excuse any absences during this time. Thank you for your understanding of these ever changing, uncharted circumstances. We are hopeful for good health, safety and swift resolution to COVID-19 (coronavirus).”

Alabaster City Schools also shared a message on the ACS Facebook page on March 14 that student absences would be excused March 16-18.

“This allows you to make the best decision for your family regarding school attendance,” the ACS post read.

Pelham City Schools and Hoover City Schools will also excuse absences on March 16-18.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey sent an email to school superintendents detailing plans on handling student absences March 16-18.

“Under this state of emergency, please excuse any students who are absent from school Monday, March 16, 2020 through Wednesday, March 18, 2020,” the email read in part. “Expecting high absenteeism, we will be seeking a waiver on attendance for these days for accountability reasons.”

Check back for more updates as information becomes available.