Radney Elementary School

Jake Arthur / The Outlook

William L. Radney Elementary School in Alexander City, Alabama.

COVID-19 cases are rising among Radney Elementary School students with 15 positive as of Friday afternoon, up five cases within 24 hours.

The percentage of students currently COVID-19 positive is now 3.3% at Radney Elementary, the highest of any Alexander City Schools campus. According to COVID-19 guidelines set by the district earlier this year, any school that exceeds the 3% threshold shall switch to remote learning to slow the spread; however, Alex City Schools has yet to announce whether Radney will go virtual after Labor Day.

District-wide, cases are up 27% from Monday morning to Friday afternoon, with 80 students and employees currently COVID-positive. The three elementary schools — where students are too young to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination — have the highest caseloads.

Jim Pearson Elementary School, which closed this past week due to a spike in cases, is down to 22 cases among its students, a net decrease of five. Cases rose among Jim Pearson staff, however, with seven now COVID-positive, or 8.3% of all personnel. One in four students were already absent just before the school shut.

"'Our Journey Forward,' found on the homepage of our website, outlines in detail the threshold for moving to remote learning," Alex City Schools spokesperson Jessica Sanford said last week. "When ACS has less than 80% in attendance at any given school, that school will make the shift to remote learning."

Staffing shortages were another common reason for school districts to have to go virtual last year, as teachers went into isolation due to COVID-19 exposure and substitute teachers were in short supply.

As it stands Friday, however, all Alexander City Schools students return to their brick-and-mortar classrooms Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tallapoosa County Schools reported 31 cases district-wide to the Alabama Department of Public Health Friday, up from 21 cases last week. Tallapoosa County Schools has yet to release a school-by-school breakdown.

COVID-19 cases as of Sept. 3

• Jim Pearson Elementary School — 22 students, 7 employees

• Stephens Elementary School — 11 students, 2 employees

• Radney Elementary School — 15 students

• Alexander City Middle School — 10 students, 1 employee

• Benjamin Russell High School — 9 students

• Central office — 1 employee

• Child nutrition program — 2 employees

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