East Alabama schools’ spring break plans amid COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Mar. 17, 2021 at 12:51 PM EDT
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EAST ALABAMA (WTVM) - In east Alabama, most K-12 schools are continuing like normal when it comes to the spring break holiday, but Auburn University is taking a different approach this semester because of COVID-19.

Eufaula City Schools will have their spring break starting at the end of March.

“From talking to the people in the school system and the people in the community, we know people are going to travel,” said superintendent Joey Brannan.

But there’s concern that travel could mean new cases of the virus at schools across our area.

“Obviously there’s some concern there,” Brannan said.

Many school districts in east Alabama have already had their spring break or are currently having it.

Brannan said they will be closely watching the COVID-19 numbers when students return April 4.

“[We’ll be] looking at numbers, looking at our cases,” he said. “[We’re] trying to take all of the information in before we make any decisions.”

He told News Leader Nine the district feels comfortable proceeding with spring break plans in part because of the low number of COVID cases they’ve seen since returning for in person learning this year and the fact that they’re able to have state testing before spring break.

According to school officials, since the district returned to in-person learning in February, they have had 35 cases out of about 2,400 students and less than 5 cases among 350 staff members.

“We’ve gotten more and more of our teachers vaccinated, so, yeah, that does make you feel more comfortable going into a spring break,” Brannan said.

When it comes to higher learning, Auburn University is opting out of spring break this year.

“This year we were given wellness days throughout the semester,” Auburn student Tiffany McGinnis said.

According to the school, in lieu of spring break, students had two wellness days already when classes didn’t meet. The next one is April 1.

Auburn University officials said this modified calendar is designed to allow on-campus learning to continue this semester.

“I do think it’s helped limiting the spread of COVID just because kids aren’t going to the beach for whole weeks,” Brittany McGinnis, an Auburn student, said.

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