Ala. to give three masks to each student, Dr. Mackey says

Reaction to governor's extended health order

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama State Department of Education bought 2.5 million masks for schools. State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said this would provide about three masks for each student.

“They’re washable, reusable, and of course their districts have already bought their own, parents have already bought face coverings, but this will be one more way to supplement the needs of the schools,” Mackey said.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that students from second grade to college are required to wear masks whenever practical.

“We know that with all responsibilities of being a teacher this can be an added burden to require that a mask be worn,” said Ivey. “But just as we’re focused on creating a safe and healthy environment for our students, it’s also important that we take care of our teachers as well.”

Alabama Policy Institute Director of Policy Phil Williams said he believes it should be up to local districts to make that decision.

“It should be a more of a decision that we believe is best left to those at the local level, who can see what steps they need to take based upon the needs of that particular school, or the environment or the county, or the city in which they reside,” Williams said.

Some state leaders are also worried about there being a large learning gap if students don’t return to the classrooms.

“I fear with all my heart that a slide will come by keeping our kids at home,” Ivey said.

Ivey urged districts to plan a phased approach to putting students back in school. Dr. Mackey said he is also concerned about learning gaps.

“It will take us literally years to dig out from under this and to get all of our students back up where they should be,” he said.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.