Sylacauga City Schools to extend face mask policy

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:48 AM CDT
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SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WBRC) - The Sylacauga City Schools board voted unanimously to extend their current mask mandate until October 8, 2021. The positive number of COVID-19 cases in the school system has decreased, and Superintendent Dr. Michelle Eller says this is the best option for students and staff.

Three weeks ago there were 58 positive cases throughout the school system. So far this week there have only been 23 cases reported. Dr. Eller believes this proves the mask mandate is working.

Although the cases in the school system are declining, it’s not the same in Talladega County. According to the Alabama Department of Health the county is still at high risk for Covid and transmission.

“We are charged with the responsibility of educating our students and keeping them safe. Protecting them against a contagious virus is just as important as protecting them in emergency situations,” says Dr. Eller. “Wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and diligent sanitization of our buildings are ways we can provide this protection.”

The face coverings have also reduced the number of students out of school due to exposure. Only close-contact students who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms are being advised to quarantine. This guidance is different from how schools operated last year with all close contacts required to quarantine.

“We feel that having this in place it’s enabled us to meet our goal of keeping learning face to face and keeping us open,” says Dr. Eller. “One of the things that was shared with us this morning in our board meeting was that Talladega County is still a high red zone for Covid and so our hospitals are slammed full. Our doctors offices are full and so one it’s a sheer miracle that we’ve been able to have these low numbers. In lieu of what’s going on all in our community.”

Dr. Eller says they will continue to monitor schools and positive cases closely. The situation and policies can change daily, but their ultimate goal is do all they can to keep students and staff healthy.

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