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Local schools lift mask mandate

With Gov. Kay Ivey lifting the mask mandate, local schools are now shifting their guidelines to follow the current rules.

Covington County Schools according to superintendent Shannon Driver is lifting their mask mandate on Monday, April 12.

“We will be following the governor’s lead on this,” Driver said. “She dropped the requirement statewide and that included schools.”

Driver said since they have had such a low case count in the past weeks, he feels confident about pulling the mask mandate.

“We have had zero cases in three straight weeks,” Driver said. “It will definitely be optional for those that would still like to wear a mask. Hopefully, with enhanced cleaning and continued good hygiene, we will be good until the end of the year. Also, a large percent of our staff is now vaccinated and that also helps with the safety of things.”

Andalusia City Schools will also recommend mask usage, but will not enforce it.

“We are strongly going to recommend the use of a mask, but we are not going to mandate it,” ACS superintendent Ted Watson said. “COVID-19 has been very contained in the past couple of weeks. We are surprised because we had prom and we are coming back from a full week of spring break. We have been very successful of having in-person school this year and the data shows that.”

Opp City Schools will operate under updated guidelines that include encouraging the use of masks and facial coverings, but not requiring them.

These changes will be effective at 5:00 pm on Friday, April 9.

“Although we will continue to encourage the use of masks and facial coverings, they will no longer be required in our schools or on our campuses,” OCS superintendent Michael Smithart said. “We will continue to monitor health orders, but it is our hope and anticipation that we will be able to host all traditional spring activities without the previous limitations on attendance. We look forward to these next two months of school and hosting the events and activities that are so important to our students and our community. In order to do this, we must all remain vigilant and practice the measures necessary to prevent any future outbreak.”