BY MOLLIE S. WATERS
The Greenville Standard
According to Alabama’s Department of Health’s Division of Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Butler County last week.
Currently, more than 600 cases of the illness have been detected in the state, and at least four deaths have been attributed to it.
With the number of cases continuing to rise, Governor Kay Ivey announced on Thursday, Mar. 26 that Alabama’s public K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year, but instruction for students will continue through alternative methods.
“I’m joined today by Dr. Eric Mackey, State Superintendent of Education, and Dr. Scott Harris, our State Health Officer,” said Ivey during the press conference. “We’re here to provide an important update regarding the remainder of our school calendar.
“On March 19, I signed a state of emergency and joined these two leaders to announce that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we would be suspending school until April 6. Folks, we had hoped at that time that we were taking these cautious steps and would be able to welcome our students back into the classroom. However, the virus continues to spread.
“Today, I have signed a supplemental state of emergency that would allow Dr. Mackey and his team to provide instruction from home starting April 6 for the remainder of the school year.”
Ivey went on to say that the decision was not made lightly, but due to the nature of the virus, it was thought that this course of action would be the best for the state’s students.
“Folks, this is for real,” said Ivey. “This is a deadly situation.”
On Friday, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College (LBWCC) announced on its website that it would also remain closed, as are all of Alabama’s community colleges, with classes proceeding through remote instruction.
“Per direction from the Alabama Community College System,” states the LBWCC website, “remote instruction beginning on March 30, 2020 will continue the remainder of Spring Semester. All Lurleen B. Wallace Community College campuses will be closed until further notice.”
In addition to the schools closing, Governor Ivey announced the closing of all nonessential businesses starting on March 28 and going through at least April 17.
Those businesses include entertainment venues, athletic facilities and activities, close-contact service providers, and retail stores. For a full list of closures, visit https://www.wbrc.com/2020/03/27/gov-kay-ivey-issue-covid-update-am-friday/.
In the days and weeks to come, more changes may be on the way, such as curfews, which have already been put in place in Birmingham and Montgomery.
This information was current as of Friday, Mar. 27, 2020.