The Alabama Department of Public Health is offering updated COVID-19 guidance to K-12 schools in Alabama as classes start for the 2021-22 school year.
Some of the key points in the ADPH recommendations:
- Students should return to in-class learning
- Masks should be required
- 3 feet of social distance should be required, 6 feet is recommended
- Vaccinations for those old enough to get them
ADPH says these updates reflect the most up-to-date recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are based on the best scientific understanding of how COVID-19 infects and spreads among students and educators.
In a letter addressed to school officials, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris writes about how incredibly difficult the past 18 months have been for teachers, administrators, school staff members, students and parents. As Alabama children return to the classroom setting, ensuring children can be educated in the safest possible environment is the task of ADPH.
“For those who are eligible, vaccination remains our most potent strategy for preventing disease among students, faculty and staff, and vaccination also eliminates the need for quarantine among many of the close contacts in our schools. Other mitigation strategies, such as face coverings, distancing, and hygiene measures are also important, especially in those communities that are experiencing high levels of COVID-19 transmission,” he said.
In issuing its guidance, ADPH says it recognizes that local school boards will set policies for their district. It is asking that school boards follow the CDC recommendations.