ADPH shares COVID-19 masking guidance ahead of new school year

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 4:47 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health has made it clear the decision to mask is a personal one, that includes in the classroom this fall semester.

“If there’s not a bigger mandate in place, like a school wide mandate, then each individual just makes that decision,” said Dr. Wes Stubblefield with ADPH.

With many schools no longer requiring face coverings, the doctor encourages parents to consider a number of factors when deciding if their child should mask up.

First, it is important to know that children are not immune to serious COVID-19 infection.

“Some children are at risk for severe complications and hospitalization with COVID-19,” Stubblefield said. “We’ve seen that throughout the pandemic, and we continue to see children that are hospitalized at our children’s hospitals, in other places, with COVID-19.”

A mask can help cut down on spread.

Additionally, everyone should pay close attention to the color-coded map on the ADPH website. Most of Alabama’s 67 counties are red, meaning they are seeing “high” COVID-19 community levels. Your student’s school may be in one of these counties.

Also consider your child’s vaccination status. While vaccinated people can still contract the BA.5 coronavirus subvariant, they are less likely to have serious complications.

“Those parents may choose to have their children mask at school,” he said. “They’re also trying to make that decision about whether or not they vaccinate their children, and they should talk to their health care provider about that.”

Dr. Stubblefield adds that some schools are trying to increase ventilation and are using “environmental decontamination” to cut down on COVID spread this year.

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