Tallassee City Schools

A high number of absences is forcing Tallassee City Schools to move to virtual learning next week.

“Our data indicates that our absentee counts were 444, or 28 percent of the student body and 28 staff members were absent Wednesday,” superintendent Dr. Brock Nolin said in a release. “[Thursday, Tallassee City Schools (TCS)] had 386 or 24 percent of the student body and 29 staff members absent and 25 staff members already scheduled to be out [Friday].”

Brock did not say how many students and staff were positive for COVID-19 but Brock posted last Friday only 28 students or staff were positive across the city’s three schools. Brock said the absences of students and staff Wednesday and Thursday made it clear what the decision should be.

“With these numbers, it’s in the best interest of our students and staff to move to virtual learning and allow our facilities to be thoroughly cleaned,” Brock said. “We are hopeful that this temporary shift to remote teaching and learning will lessen transmission and allow TCS to safely resume in-person instruction.

Brock said school would be in person Friday and virtual Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday would be a holiday and school would return to in-person learning Thursday, Jan. 20.

Neighboring school districts are making similar moves to virtual learning. Elmore County, Holtville and Stanhope Elmore high schools are moving to virtual learning until next week. Tallapoosa County Schools announced Tuesday that it will be switching to remote learning until Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Across Elmore County the positivity rate for the last seven days has nearly matched that of the state at 41.5 percent. Alabama’s positivity rate has been 41.1 percent. Of Elmore County’s 18,318 cases, 1,178 have been reported since Jan. 1.

Across Tallapoosa County the positivity rate has been 24.5 percent. Of Tallapoosa County’s 8,858 cases, 906 have been reported since Jan. 1

Brock said administration would track positive case counts and absences and adjust accordingly.

“If there are any changes to the dates specified, a notification will be sent to all parents,” Brock said. “Teachers will send information through Google Classroom. For those without internet access, Kajeet devices can be checked out for the period of remote learning.”

Brock said lunch and breakfast will be served curbside each day that the schools are remote from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

While students may not be learning on campus, other student activities will move on as planned with some changes to others. Tallassee High School wrestling will continue Friday as planned, as would the Missoula Children’s Theatre at Tallassee Elementary School.

“Adjustments are being made to the [Tallassee High School] majorette tryouts,” Brock said. “Administration will notify those trying out when plans are solidified.”