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Some union leaders concerned with Governor’s stance on masks in schools

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:00 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Some teacher union representatives are slamming Governor Kay Ivey for her comments about young children and masks in schools.

“The governor’s comments do more danger and harm, than helping,” said Richard Franklin, President Birmingham AFT, “It may be how she personally feels, but it’s not about her.”

The governor’s office released a statement Monday saying Governor Ivey believes students need to be in the classroom without any type of mask requirement.

The comments come after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended masks for everyone older than 2-years-old inside schools. Children under 12 are still not eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.

“The medical experts are the experts – there’s a reason they said wear masks,” said Franklin.

Hoover City Schools for example has released a draft of its reopening plan and a representative in the superintendent’s office confirmed as it stands now – masks are optional.

The topic came up at Trussville City Schools board meeting Monday with leaders saying they anticipate 99 percent of students will return to the classroom in the fall – and they are holding off on updating the mask policy for now until they get more information from the state.

Governor Ivey has said that she will not issue any more mask mandates and the state education department told WBRC “the local districts have the autonomy to make the decision to enforce masking or not.”

“I feel sorry for the people in each district because what’s the point of having state leaders with no guidance,” said Franklin.

Union leaders say in addition to concerns about lax policies about masks in schools there’s even greater concern now that health leaders are tracking the highly-contagious Delta Variant and the fact that Alabama trails the nation in vaccination rates.

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