400 students in the Tuscaloosa City Schools system were quarantined or in isolation Tuesday because of potential exposure to COVID-19, according to TCS' real-time dashboard.

There are 10,800 students in the system, so 3.7 percent of the student population was quarantined or in isolation Tuesday, by far the highest number since classes resumed in-person in October.

Lesley Bruinton, the school system's Director of Public Relations, said students are being quarantined following guidelines from the Alabama Department of Public Health's Toolkit and the spike could be due to any number of circumstances. Some students may have been exposed to a COVID-positive family member over the Thanksgiving break, she said, or staying at home after a classmate came down with the virus.

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Bruinton pointed out that only 24 students have confirmed active COVID cases, a fraction of 1 percent of the student body, and the rest are quarantined because of potential exposure, not after testing positive for the coronavirus.

She said the City School Board will have a work session next Monday, Dec. 8th, to review the latest COVID-19 data in the system and region and what that means for the rest of the fall semester and especially for plans to return to the classroom in January.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more details from that meeting when they are available.

Lastly, Bruinton said the most important thing parents in the TCS system can do right now is keep children who are not feeling well at home and follow other guidelines from the ADPH and the CDC.

"It's so important for families to remember that if students feel sick, they need to keep them at home," Bruinton said. "Follow all those guidelines -- practice social distancing, wear face coverings, sanitize your hands and keep students who aren't feeling well at home."

The Tuscaloosa County School System only updates their COVID-19 data bi-weekly and new information is not expected on that front until this Friday.

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