Some teachers feel reluctant about returning to schools without masks

Teachers concerned

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As some school districts opt to make masking optional in their classrooms, some teachers are uneasy to see the shift before the school year ends.

Most school districts in the state are keeping masks through the end of the year, but I am told teachers are split on how they feel.

A local teacher’s union leader says there’s some anxiety out there as some districts change their policies.

“I don’t really understand why some districts would take the mask away right now,” said Richard Franklin, Birmingham ATF president.

Most school districts statewide will continue masking through the end of the spring semester. There are a handful, including Cullman County, Tuscaloosa County, and Shelby County that have laid out plans to make masks optional.

“The districts that I represent, the communication is open, and they still see the importance of wearing a mask because our kids haven’t been vaccinated,” said Franklin.

Bessemer City Schools says they’ve kept their COVID case counts low by mandating masks, and want to make sure they end the term on a positive note.

“We think it makes sense to continue our present plan that’s in place, it’s been in place all school year for all students, employees and visitors to wear those masks and we are going to continue it,” said Dr. Autumn Jeter, superintendent of Bessemer City Schools.

Local health experts say that removing masks too soon concerns them, and recommend keeping them on through the end of the semester.

“We know that will have implications for unvaccinated youth and young adults who are still gathering, still in school and going to visit mom for mother’s day, it’s very important we keep in mind they are still at risk,” said Dr. Ellen Eaton, physician at UAB.

Just 257 COVID cases were reported in the most recent data in K-12 schools, but some districts were on spring break and we expect those updates in the next week.

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