(HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – July 22, 2020) – On Wednesday, Huntsville City Schools, Madison County Schools, and Madison City Schools made a joint announcement that they will start the new school year with remote learning for the first nine weeks, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madison County is currently “very high risk” on the Alabama Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Risk Indicator Dashboard. Recent statistics show we are in a spike for the virus here, with more than 2,000 people testing positive in our county in the past 14 days.
Before COVID, Huntsville/Madison County was growing at record levels. When schools closed in March, every employer in the region felt a shock. Safety measures were put into place to protect workers, and teleworking and flextime were widely implemented. In fact, Business Insider reported that 44 percent of our workforce was able to telework.
The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber strongly encourages businesses to extend teleworking policies if possible, and to work with employees on childcare concerns in these unprecedented times.
“Teleworking is helpful but doesn’t fully address the issue of childcare and supervision for parents who can’t work from home,” said Lucia Cape, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Industry Relations and Workforce. “Before COVID, we had a childcare gap of more than 22,000 in our Congressional district. Safety measures have forced some centers to close and reduced the capacity of centers that have stayed open. Adding school-age children who need supervision and support will have an impact we haven’t even assessed yet.”
The Chamber’s Childcare Taskforce is looking into these issues and working with community partners and the school districts to identify solutions. Earlier this month, the Alabama Department of Human Resources also announced a Temporary Assistance for Stabilizing Childcare (TASCC) grant to help more childcare providers stabilize and reopen.
“Childcare is a community concern, and it can’t be left to individual parents to address,” Cape added. “This is an economic issue, a workforce issue, and a quality of life issue. The Chamber and the business community are committed to being part of the solution.”
For more information, please contact:
VP, Marketing & Communications
Huntsville/Madison County Chamber