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State officials remain neutral on child masking as pediatric group calls for masks rise

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends masks for everyone older than 2-years-old inside of schools, but there is no statewide guidance on masking so far at all.

Governor Kay Ivey has said that she will not issue any more state mandates regarding masks, and today she reaffirmed that.

Her spokesperson telling us, “Governor Ivey believes students need to be in the classroom without any type of mask requirement. She continues to encourage all eligible Alabamians to roll up their sleeves and get the vaccine to make COVID-19 a distant memory.”

We checked in with the state superintendent’s office as well.

Michael Sibley with the AL Dept. of Education said, “As we head into the school year there is no statewide mandate that enforces the wearing of masks.”

In the absence of a mandate, school districts will hold the power to make their own mandates.

Local school systems have the authority to determine for themselves what protocols they choose to employ. If a school system wanted to require masks at certain times, require masks at certain kinds of events,” said Sibley.

Their office echoed Ivey’s call to vaccinate.

“We are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated,” he said.

But children under 12 cannot get vaccinated yet, which is why they should be masking, says one local pediatrician.

“I feel like we have this tool, that can protect children and can get them back in school,” said pediatrician Dr. Gigi Youngblood.

She says masks are the most certain way to keep them there, too.

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