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School leaders answer frequently asked questions regarding COVID protocol

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Just like last year, there are many questions parents might have going into the new school year. As COVID cases in Alabama are rising, the Alabama Department of Education released its updated quarantine protocols.

Director of Communications for the Alabama Department of Education, Michael Sibley, says these are not hard and fast rules.

“Here in Alabama, there is not a statewide mandate of what everyone has to do. We generally take our lead from ADPH,” says Sibley.

One of the top concerns, how long will vaccinated or unvaccinated students have to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus?

“It would be the call of ADPH whether it would be a 10, 12, or 14-day quarantine,” says Sibley.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health say they will follow CDC recommendations.

The full statement ADPH released to WAFF:

“ADPH is updating the School Tool Kit for 2021-2022 and expects this to be complete by first of August. ADPH recommendations will be the same as the CDC for mitigation and prevention of COVID-19 transmission, including masks for unvaccinated persons or persons not eligible for vaccine due to age. Schools may or may not adopt ADPH guidance as they deem appropriate for their population. If parents wish for their children to wear masks, they should have masks as part of back to school supplies.”

Those CDC guidelines are: If your child is fully vaccinated they will not have to go into quarantine if exposed. If not, they will have to quarantine for 14-days. And if your child tests positive for the virus they will have to quarantine for 10-days.

Now, how will schools know if someone is vaccinated?

Huntsville City School attorney, Chris Pape, says it will be up to the honor system due to the new Vaccine Passport Law.

“School systems will not be able to require documentation of that prior to having students attend school,” says Pape.

Sibley says these recommendations aren’t set and stone and could change.

“A month from now we might be having a very different conversation. Or 4 months from now it depends on how things are happening in the state of Alabama, around the country, and the world,” says Sibley.

ADPH says they should have their School Tool Kit finalized by the first of August. Parents are recommended to keep up with the latest CDC guidelines.

You can read more about quarantine guidelines here and more about isolation guidelines here.

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