Today Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that all public schools will be closed for the remainder of the year and instruction will be moved online. Ivey signed a supplemental state of emergency that allows online instruction to begin on April 6.
Ivey told reporters via a virtual news conference, “We had hoped we would be able to welcome students back into the classroom, however the virus continues to spread. … This decision has not been made lightly and has been made with a tremendous amount of concern and discussion.”
Ivey also said that the state was concerned with a tremendous slide in learning and achievement that would be inevitable if students had no instruction through the spring and summer months.
“Students who do not have quality enrichment in summer loose proficiency and we recognize this would be the same situation but compounded if we did not find a way to be flexible with classroom instruction,” Ivey said. “We are doing the very best we can with what we have to deal with.”
Ivey also implored residents to take warnings about the virus seriously.
“I cannot stress enough, we must be serious about eliminating the spread of this virus,” she said. “The public health orders are not suggestions, they have been put in place to save your life. Folks this is for real. This is a deadly situation and your attention is important.
“The stay at home if possible directive is the only way we can mitigate the spread of this virus,” she said. “This is not, stay at home and invite your friends to visit. It means to limit interaction you have with other people.”
On Thursday Alabama surpassed 500 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 and reported its first death. State officials said the average age of those being treated for the virus in Alabama is 47 and patients across the state range in age from 19 -64.
Officials said they expect to see the number of cases in the state continue to climb.