Back to school: Alabama health officials release updated COVID-19 guidance
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health released updated guidance for school officials as they prepare to welcome faculty, students and staff for the school year.
The guidelines for school administrators and school nurses reflect the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including using masks, spacing and vaccinations.
Using masks, social distancing and vaccinations are the best strategies for students to remain in the classroom even if exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, according to ADPH.
ADPH encouraged schools to require masks and social distancing, adding that if these recommendations are followed, it can limit the number of people who have to quarantine.
For students who are too young to be vaccinated, correct mask use and at least three feet of social distance in classrooms will help students remain in the classroom and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Implementing universal masking, spacing, and vaccinations (when age-appropriate) recommendations will allow more students to remain in school, more parents and grandparents to remain at work, and most importantly prevent an outbreak in the school that could spread to the community at large,” the guidance states.
Several school district in Alabama, including Montgomery Public Schools, have already announced mask mandates for the start of the school year.
According to ADPH, masks are required on buses operated by public and private school systems regardless of the mask policy at school. This is part of a CDC order that requires masks on public transportation.
Anyone who tests positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19 must stay home for 10 days following the onset of symptoms or the positive test result.
It is mandatory for school principals and nurses to report all suspected and diagnosed COVID-19 cases to the state.
School officials should also notify individuals who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 as soon as possible, ADPH said.
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