The entire sixth grade class at a middle school in Tuscaloosa has temporarily switched to virtual learning after a significant percentage of its students tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Lesley Bruinton, the director of public relations for the Tuscaloosa City Schools system, said administrators became concerned late last week after several students in the sixth-grade class at Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools – Middle developed confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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By Friday, eight of the school's 59 sixth graders were infected with the virus -- more than 13 percent of the entire class.

Bruinton said TCS administrators conferred with the Alabama Department of Public Health, who ultimately recommended that the class switch to virtual learning for nine calendar days.

The change went into effect Monday morning, and students will not return to in-person classes until next Monday, September 20th.

Data shared on TCS's COVID-19 Tracker showed 10 students at the middle school had confirmed cases of the virus Monday morning and were in isolation or quarantine.

Bruinton said the numbers TCS shares might vary from those provided weekly by the ADPH because school system reports cases from Sunday to Sunday and updates the Tracker in real-time. The ADPH updates once weekly and their numbers typically reflect a different 7-day range than what is shared by TCS.

495 students in the city school system have tested posited for COVID-19 since in-person classes resumed last month. The city's board of education adopted a mask mandate in all of its schools and extended it last week to last until early October.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more information on COVID-19 in area schools as it becomes available.

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The Alabama Department of Public Health reported over 8,000 cases of COVID-19 among students in public school systems this week. Here's a look at how those cases break down.

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