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Alabama Superintendent of Education addresses mask wearing in schools

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Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:19 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama’s superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey visited Tuscaloosa Wednesday to speak to a group about an ongoing Adopt A School program. But it didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to coronavirus and how much mask wearing could happen in schools.

Dr. Eric Mackey told the crowd that about 95 percent of Alabama public schools will start in August with in-person, face to face teaching, compared to 50 percent last year. This presents new challenges because of rising coronavirus cases and especially the Delta variant.

“The downside is because of that, students are going to be much closer in proximity to one another. There’s going to be more opportunities for the virus, certainly the Delta variant of the virus, to be transferred from student to student,” Dr. Mackey said.

Mackey does not believe there will be a mask wearing mandate at this time despite Tuesday’s recommendation from the CDC on new mask wearing guidelines for vaccinated people.

“We have conversations with Dr. Harris, conversations with the Governor’s Office and with her and it’s been very clear we’re not looking at a statewide mask mandate for masks right now,” Mackey continued.

He wants parents to support their kids so they don’t feel as much stress about what may be happening because of the virus.

Mackey is also asking people to get vaccinated for coronavirus unless there are medical reasons why they shouldn’t.

“People who are vaccinated almost always have a much less severe reaction when they get COVID. I continue to ask our adults that work in schools to get vaccinated,” he said.

Dr. Mackey is scheduled to meet later this week with state health officer Scott Harris so schools and parents can get a better idea of what the start of the school year could look like for students.

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