Local superintendent looking into COVID-19 protocols for upcoming school year

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HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Can you believe the start of the school year is just around the corner? With all of the southeast Alabama counties in the ‘very high risk’ category for the spread of COVID-19, many school districts are looking at how they plan to deal with COVID for the 2021 to 2022 school year.

Superintendent of the Houston County School District, Brandy White said they will have meetings with Dothan City Schools administrators, and medical professionals this week to set the best plan for teachers and students when it comes to COVID.

White said when you take into account the numbers the district is on the right path

“We have over 50 percent who were vaccinated, which is much higher than the general population in Alabama,” White said. “As well as you take into account those people who had COVID should still have antibodies so we feel like we are at a higher percentage than the general public.”

White said they’re doing everything to keep things normal this upcoming school year. The district, as of right now, does not believe they’ll have to go back to requiring masks and virtual learning, despite recent surges.

Recently the Alabama legislature passed a bill stating districts can not require teachers or students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“If we have a different protocol for those who that are vaccinated, rather than those who don’t, we have to find a way of knowing who is vaccinated and who is not,” White said.

White said it is the district’s goal to give parents and students as close to a normal school year as possible. He said at this time he believes the district is on the right track.

Alabama’s 87th District Representative, Paul Lee, said the ban on passport vaccination prevents state and local entities from asking for proof that someone has had their COVID-19 shot. This includes school districts. He said schools can still require your typical back-to-school shots.

“What this does is it prevents there to be any additional vaccine, such as the COVID vaccine, to be able to do business in the state of Alabama, to receive any benefits or anything from local or state level,” Lee said.

White tells WDHN that parents and guardians should know the protocols for the upcoming school year fairly soon.

“I think our students and our parents are ready to get back to normal, again we know we might have to take some minor precautions, but we are hoping those are minimal,” White said.

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