NEW BROCKTON, Ala. (WDHN) — This week, the Coffee County School District removed its mandatory masking policy for students and faculty.

Due to lower COVID-19 cases in the Coffee County School District, as well as the county itself, the masking requirement has been lifted across the district’s four school campuses.

However, students and faculty are encouraged to continue to wear them if they feel more secure.

In Regina Brown’s anatomy class at New Brockton High School, senior Andrew Cashin does not wear a mask, but at the adjacent desk, Raime Fugate continues to wear her mask.

Fugate says it’s an additional layer of protection against the coronavirus.

“I think wearing a mask is important with the current numbers and I think it saves lives,” Fugate said. “I think everybody should wear it, I think vaccinated people should wear it too. I’m not anti-wearing a mask, I think with the current numbers, I don’t think it’s dangerous, but I think we should still keep on wearing it. But those students who are seniors and had to endure wearing and not wearing masks for most of their high school career, not wearing it is getting back to normal.”

“From a senior standpoint, we kind of want our last year to be about as normal as possible” Cashin said. “So being able in class without a mask on, and walking the halls without one kind of mask it feels kind of normal.”

New Brockton High Principal, Alonzo Barkley, says this year’s seniors have been directly impacted by
the pandemic. For more than a year, these students have been dealing with a host of COVID-related issues.

“I think all school systems had to do the right thing to make sure we were keeping our kids safe,” Barkley said. “Flattening that curve which was continuing to rise.”

Coffee County School Superintendent Kelly Cobb says if the district sees a rapid increase in positive cases, the district reserves the right to reinstate masking. But, she hopes that does not happen.