Birmingham City Schools to Close for In-Person Classes as COVID-19 Numbers Climb

The continuing increase in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths has prompted the Birmingham City School System to rethink its recent move to in-school classes and go back to remote learning.

The decision was announced in a press statement Monday, in which Superintendent Mark Sullivan said the system would return to remote instruction Monday, Dec. 7. The system switched from remote learning to a staggered schedule in early November.

The new schedule, which will run through the holiday break, will have students connecting by computer for teaching on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will be set aside for independent work, with teachers available for office hours. Meals still will be served on all school days.

“The current COVID-19 global pandemic is drastically impacting our community and our schools,” Sullivan said. “While we realize many students have enjoyed in-person learning, we feel that our remote model is the best option at this time.”

Jefferson County has undergone a sharp spike in all COVID-19 numbers, and the death toll in the county reached 500 Monday. The county’s seven-day moving average of new cases is now up to 324.71 per day.

“Our students and faculty are not immune from these spikes. We are seeing an uptick in the number of positive cases throughout the district among our students, faculty and staff,” Sullivan said.

The announcement came on the day Hoover City Schools students returned to a staggered schedule with two days a week of in-school learning. The system reverted to full five-day in-school instruction Oct. 19 after a two-day schedule for middle and high school students and four days for elementary schools.

Hoover will stay with the two-day plan through the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and plans to return to a five-day schedule Jan. 19.