ACS and PCS to continue to require masks

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

After Gov. Kay Ivey announced her “Safer Apart” order that effectively ends the mask mandate in Alabama on April 9, Alabaster City Schools announced that their mask requirement would continue until April 23, and Pelham City Schools will keep theirs until a later specified time.

Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said that the school system made this decision to ensure that staff and faculty would be fully immunized after receiving their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Through a partnership with Shelby Baptist Medical Center/Brookwood Baptist Health, many faculty and staff members have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and will receive the second dose by April 9,” Vickers said. “Many others have been vaccinated through other providers across the region. We remain encouraged that by following our “Roadmap to Reopening” plan and with the greater availability of vaccines, our COVID-19 positive cases will continue to decline.”

Over the next few weeks, the school will monitor and evaluate data to determine whether or not the mandate should continue past April 23, and will release more information as it becomes available.

According to Pelham City Schools Communications Manager Nicole Knight, the school system has not yet made any changes to their facial covering requirement.

“At this time, we have many teachers and employees who have not yet received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. We feel that it is essential to allow our staff to be fully vaccinated and allow the appropriate time for them to build up immunity before we consider any changes to our current requirement for face coverings,” Knight said. “We will also continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 cases and quarantine data in our schools.”

Knight said the issue would likely be considered at the next PCS Board of Education meeting on April 26.

Both school systems are strongly encouraging students, parents and faculty to continue to follow safety guidelines and to act responsibly as it relates to the virus.