How Gov. Ivey’s further-loosened order impacts school reopenings

New guidelines for Alabama public schools

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has amended her state order in the fight against COVID-19 which is opening the door for students to return to class.

Thursday afternoon, Ivey and State Health officer Dr. Scott Harris announced changes to the state’s “Safer at Home” Order to loosen some restrictions facing businesses, schools, entertainment venues, etc.

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey spoke positively about the decision to WSFA 12 News.

“We’re very excited about the governor moving forward with the next step, giving us some direction with what school should look like in June,” said Mackey.

Section 13 of the state order allows for all schools to open June 1. Mackey says they plan to open public campuses in June for students going into the 7th grade this fall and higher. The state then plans to let younger students in after the Fourth of July.

The state is getting leaders on the system level ready for the changes.

“We already have released some additional guidance to superintendents to help them understand best practices in reopening their campuses to students in June,” said Mackey.

The state included a checklist for school-sponsored activities to make sure they comply with state restrictions. They’ve also released supportive guidance which expands on what leaders will need to consider when reopening.

Mackey says the state is using CDC guidance to inform all decisions. Mackey admits not everything from the CDC is practical for Alabama.

“For instance, they put out some recent things on riding school buses and they suggested only putting one child in a seat and skipping seats in between children. Well we know how many school buses we have in the state, how many children we have to transport and it’s really just not practical for us implement strategies like that," said Mackey.

Mackey says they are looking at what other things the CDC has put out so that the state can make school bus trips as safe as possible.

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