Public school COVID cases up relatively dramatically


It was mostly crickets on the COVID-19 front for the Baldwin County School District in December.

A mere two student cases and one employee case was documented during the final two weeks of school in December prior to the Christmas holiday break. Now, however, the numbers are up dramatically. A total of 64 students cases and 12 employees cases were recorded during the first full week back in class, according to the district's online database.

The 76 cases last week were more than the months of October, November and December combined. At least to some extent, however, it's important to remember that testing has been much more common around Baldwin County in the last month or so, relative to October through December. Also, of course, the highly contagious Omicron variant is the largest driver of the increase in new cases.

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For more perspective, the district finished the 2020-2021 school year with 73 positive student cases and 76 positive employee cases, with an inordinate percentage of those coming in January and during the first few weeks back from Christmas break. Meanwhile, during the first six weeks of this school year, there were 220 student cases and 33 employee cases, or roughly three times as many as the previous school year combined. At least to some extent, however, some of the increase in COVID cases this school year can be attributed to increased in-person enrollment. 

The school district began this school year with an in-person enrollment of 4,309, which compares to an in-person enrollment of roughly 2,500 last year. There were actually more virtual students than in-person students during the first few months of the 2020-2021 school year, although virtual enrollment is down significantly to begin this school year.

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