Masks will continue to be optional in Madison City Schools
MADISON – The Madison City School District reiterated its plans to make masks optional when students start back to school on Aug. 4. The school district, which plans to host over 12,000 students this fall, had earlier stated masks would not be required, but many speculated if that would change after Huntsville City Schools said masks would be required for all students.
The change in direction for Huntsville comes in response to a recent surge in COVID cases throughout the state. “This upward trend is extremely concerning, especially with the Delta variant being highly infectious and much more transmissible than earlier strains,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.
Superintendent of Education Dr. Ed Nichols said he has heard from many parents on both sides of the issue, but for now will leave the decision as it is.
“I am continuing to monitor health information regarding our community from several sources,” Nichols said. “Unlike last year, we are not under a mask mandate from either a local or State health officer. If at such time as a local or State health officer does institute a mask mandate, we will certainly follow their orders. Even if we do not receive a mask mandate, that does not necessarily mean that I will not decide to implement a mask requirement in the future. However, our plan for next week is to start with masks optional.”
Nichols added that he realizes this year will bring challenges, but “I am confident that our Madison City Schools team will provide an excellent learning environment…”
The school board plans to meet on July 29 at 5 p.m. at the school district’s central office. Several parents are expected to address the board concerning masking, for and against, during the public comments portion of the meeting. It will be streamed live by the school district at https://mcs.eduvision.tv/LiveSched.aspx.
To prepare campuses against COVID, the school district is taking several measures. Like last school year, all buildings will have hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaning and other sanitizing. Nursing spaces will include isolation units.
The same procedures for other communicable diseases apply to COVID. A student with major symptoms of COVID should visit a doctor for diagnosis. The student can return to school with a physician’s release.
“Alabama Department of Public Health will be coordinating the contact tracing for the area,” Nichols said. “Quarantining guidelines are still in effect unless someone can present a vaccination document.”