In a letter to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners on Thursday, the Alabama Education Association threatened legal action against any doctor who writes excuses to allow students to return to school before their mandated COVID-19 quarantine periods expire.
The AEA said it has learned from numerous members that this practice is happening all too often, and it’s placing lives at risk, the group said.
“This caused countless students and school employees to possibly be infected by students with COVID or who were close contacts of people with COVID,” the AEA’s statement reads. “This illegal, negligent practice has needlessly endangered many lives all because physicians either did not know how the quarantine process should be implemented or because they caved to pressure from parents and other citizens.”
“AEA has been working with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the State Department of Education. However, given the nature of this matter, local superintendents and school nurses were placed in a difficult position in trying to determine how best to protect all students when medical professionals said otherwise,” the statement continues.
In the letter, Theron Stokes, associate executive director of AEA, wrote that the students at issue are students who were ordered to quarantine because they were a close-contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
“It is our firm belief that there exists no medical scenario under which these students could be written out of quarantine and that to do so is violative of ADPH and CDC quarantine recommendations,” Stokes wrote.
Stokes wrote that local school superintendents are placed in extremely difficult positions in not knowing what medical advice to follow in order to protect employees, students and the general public.
“Therefore, I am putting you and your Board on notice that if this practice continues, I will have no choice but to pursue legal action in order to protect the public from this dangerous virus,” Stokes wrote.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s K-12 COVID dashboard update Friday, which is in partnership with the Alabama State Department of Education, the number of new reported COVID-19 cases among students and staff in Alabama’s K-12 public schools grew by 46 percent from the previous week. Some of that growth is likely due to more districts reporting in the second week of the dashboard’s existence, however.
The dashboard update Friday afternoon shows 1,056 new cases last week among students and staff statewide, an increase from the 772 cases reported the previous week.