MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On Wednesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she would be extending the statewide mask requirement until Aug. 31.
During a joint press conference with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, Ivey announced that masks would now be be required in schools and colleges, where possible for employees, and for students in second grade and above.
During the press conference, Ivey said the decision to extend the order was not easy, but necessary due to the surge in coronavirus cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These decision are not easy and they’re certainly not fun,” she said. “One thing is for sure: tough decisions are a lot easier to make when you’re on the sidelines than when you’re in the arena.”
Harris said that the state school education leaders are also in the process of creating and offering safety tool kits for schools that are reopening and allowing students in at the beginning of the year. The kits will be provided to schools that plan to transition from virtual learning to allowing students on-site after the first few weeks of remote training.
Over the last couple of weeks, several school systems across Alabama have announced that they would not be holding in-person classes for at least the first nine weeks, opting instead to have virtual classes. Ivey said she was concerned about this decision, adding she was afraid it would contribute to a “slide” in that students would fall behind in their studies.
“That slide is likely to have a negative impact on Alabama’s future,” she said.
Ivey said that if the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic permits, schools should phase in their in-person classes at the start of the school year later this August.
Harris said more information regarding that will be provided in the coming weeks.
For more details regarding the COVID-19 crisis in the sate, visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website.
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