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City Schools to close immediately; Alabama Power takes proactive steps

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Times staff report

Birmingham City Schools (BCS) announced Saturday that it will close for students and employees effective immediately while Alabama Power Company said it has taken proactive steps in response to the threat of coronavirus also known as COVID-19.

Those were the two most recent announcements in response to the pandemic that has caused more than a dozen Birmingham area events to be cancelled or delayed. See a list here.

The BCS said the anticipated return date for students and employees is Monday, April 6 unless otherwise noted.

The district will offer meal services weekdays at 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. for students during the closure. Grab-and-go meal options will be provided at all schools March 16 through March 18. The district will offer expanded meal services beginning March 19 through April 3 at select locations set to be announced Monday. An extended meal service plan will be provided as needed following April 5.

The district encourages individuals who are sick to seek immediate medical attention, avoid contact with others, and remain at home and fever free for at least 72 hours free of symptoms without the aid of a fever-reducing medicine.

The district will continue following the recommendations of local and state health officials as well as the Alabama State Department of Education. While instruction will not occur during the closure, BCS provided families with information to practice enrichment at home. 

For any additional district updates surrounding the coronavirus, please visit www.bhamcityschools.org/coronavirus

Alabama Power

“Safety First is a core value of Alabama Power,” said Mark Crosswhite, the company’s CEO. We are focused on the safety and well-being of our employees and customers, while ensuring there is no impact to reliable service. Our company is actively implementing strategic plans across our system to maintain the service our customers trust us to deliver.”

The company has taken proactive actions to both prevent the spread of illness and protect the safety and health of employees, including:

Providing guidance for practicing safe social distancing, frequent handwashing, limiting travel and avoiding large crowds.
Implementing telecommuting for those who can perform their duties remotely.
Canceling facility tours and external meetings.
Aggressively sanitizing work areas.
Canceling all non-essential business travel – both domestic and international.
Asking employees to self-identify if they have traveled or plan to travel internationally.
Using technology for meetings.

Alabama Power always offers resources for customers and will continue to do so during this time. Affected customers can contact Customer Service at www.alabamapower.com or 1-800-245-2244 to discuss support options.

Customers can manage energy accounts from home through the website, by phone or mail. Alabama Power also has instituted aggressive cleaning practices in business offices and appliance centers should customers need to visit in person.

Alabama Power customers and employees should follow the guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which includes helpful tips and reminders about:

Coronavirus

Steps to Prevent Illness

Symptoms

The company encourages energy efficiency to help customers manage their energy use while spending more time at home. Simple adjustments to behaviors that can help manage energy include:

Replace air filters in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units.
Set the thermostat and then forget it. Changing the temperature often during the day is more likely to increase energy use.
Ensure air-conditioning vents are unobstructed and opened to full capacity.
Use natural lighting early in the day and late in the afternoon to reduce energy use.

The Jefferson County Health Department on Thursday recommended that public gatherings with more than 500 people to be postponed or cancelled until further notice.

For coronavirus updates from the City of Birmingham, please visit www.birminghamal.gov.coronavirus   

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health have published guidance on the virus. Visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.alabamapublichealth.org for more information.