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Sylacauga BOE votes unanimously to continue mandatory mask policy

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The Sylacauga City School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to extend a mandatory mask policy for students and personnel through Oct. 8.

“The actions we have taken these last three weeks are evidence that our protocols are working," Superintendent Dr. Michele Eller said, according to a news release. "The number of positive cases in our school family have decreased in the last week, which is in stark contrast to the number of COVID cases in our community.”

Eller reported that as of the time of the called board meeting, Sylacauga City Schools had eight new cases for a total of 23 positive cases, down from 44 the week before. She said face coverings have also reduced the number of students out of school due to exposure.

Only close-contact students who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms are being advised to quarantine. This guidance is different from how schools operated last year with all close contacts required to quarantine.

“This is the responsible course of action,” she said. “We are charged with the responsibility of educating our students and keeping them safe. Protecting them against a contagious virus is just as important as protecting them in emergency situations. Wearing masks,frequent hand washing, and diligent sanitization of our buildings are ways we can provide this protection.”

Masks are also required at high school sports events.

“We know this situation changes daily,” she said, “and we are closely monitoring our schools. I made a commitment to our parents and students to keep our school buildings open and safe. This simple measure of wearing face coverings adds another layer of protection to help make that happen.”

Students are not required to wear face coverings while eating breakfast and lunch, participating in physical activity, or being outdoors. Furthermore, students who forget or misplace a face covering are not punished, as each building has spare masks.