Eastern Alabama school systems consider lifting mask mandates

PHENIX CITY, Alabama (WTVM) – Alabama officials say school mask mandates may change soon. The decision may be made due to the drop in the number of COVIDs and the possibility for children between the ages of 5 and 11 to be vaccinated now.

Schools in the town of Phenix and schools in Barbour County may be the next to drop their mask mandates. However, with the pediatric COVID vaccines now available, this is not the only change that may occur.

Since the start of the school year, pupils, students and staff in Barbour County have been required to wear masks. However, as no one in the school district has tested positive for COVID in the past two weeks, authorities are considering getting rid of that warrant.

“I don’t really think it’s reasonable to keep a mask tenure in place all year round,” Dr Zickeyous Byrd said.

Dr Byrd says the policy could be changed at next month’s board meeting. He says something else that could bring about the change – the fact that every student can now receive their COVID vaccines.

“We are grateful that the FDA has given the green light for our school-aged children – our youngest children to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Byrd.

“I think it’s wonderful that they can get the shot and I think parents should let their kids get the shot,” said Linda Mcdaniel, a resident of Phenix City.

However, before a decision is finalized, parents in Barbour County will be asked to submit an online survey to find out if they plan to have their children vaccinated.

Another school district that is considering changing its mask policy is the City of Phenix Schools. Superintendent Randy Wilkes said a decision will be made at the school district board meeting next Thursday. He also says there have been few to no positive COVID cases over the past week.

“I think they should keep wearing the mask until it’s really gone,” Mcdaniel said.

With everyone now able to get their COVID vaccine, Dr Byrd says they hope these vaccines will be needed soon.

Dr Byrd said: “We asked the question is it possible for the COVID-19 vaccination to be added to the other list of vaccinations that all of our students are currently required to have?”

At this time, none of these school districts require students to be vaccinated against COVID. However, Dr Byrd says the state superintendent is working with Governor Kay Ivey to see if this can be mandated.

Copyright 2021 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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