Masks now required by some Alabama school systems at CDC recommendation
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Tuesday that the state would leave to local school systems the decision about whether to require students and teachers wear masks for the upcoming school year.
Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, a short time after Harris’ statement, some school systems are indeed moving to mandate mask use.
“The CDC recommends that everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a briefing. “Children should return to full-time, in-person learning in the fall with proper prevention strategies in place.”
Birmingham City Schools, the largest school system in the state, moved first. According to WBRC Fox 6, the superintendent issued that district’s mandate Tuesday afternoon.
Opelika City Schools system followed suit saying masks or face coverings will be required for inside school buildings but not for outside activities like PE or athletics.
“Due to the upward trend of COVID transmission and the current local positivity rate, this decision is in the best interest of our students and staff at this time,” stated Dr. Mark Neighbors, Opelika City Schools Superintendent. “It is important for everyone to follow the guidelines and do their part to help us have a safe and successful start to the school year.”
Montgomery Public Schools system has not made any announcement, as of Tuesday evening, regarding a mask mandate.
Elmore County Schools will not require masks unless there is a mandate issued by the governor or state superintendent, at which time Superintendent Richard Dennis said the system will revisit its plan.
The state has more than 170 public school districts with more expected to make decisions on masks in the near future.
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