Masks not required in current SCS reopening plan

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

Shelby County Schools has shared its reopening plan for the new school year starting in August.

The plan, titled “Moving Forward Together,” includes two instructional delivery options and a staggered start schedule, but no mask requirement as of July 28.

“There are no plans to change our course at this point,” Public Relations and Community Education Supervisor Cindy Warner said. “If the plan changes, we will communicate that with our staff, students and community members.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance this week recommending people in areas of substantial or high transmission wear a mask, even if they are vaccinated.

The CDC’s COVID Data Tracker lists Shelby County as having a high level of transmission based on the case rate from July 20-26 and percent positivity from July 19-25.

“The Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is surging in the United States,” read a post on the CDC’s Facebook page. “New data show Delta is different than past versions of the virus; it is much more contagious. While rare, some vaccinated people can get Delta in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious.”

The SCS reopening plan for the 2021-2022 school year includes in-person and virtual instruction options.

Traditional on-campus, in-person instruction will be available for students in grades K-12.

The school district’s virtual option, Virtual Shelby, is only for students in grades 6-12, and students must have already met district qualifications (the deadline has passed).

The first two days of school will be staggered for traditional and virtual students.

Students with a last name starting with A-J will start on Thursday, Aug. 12, and students with a last name starting with K-Z will start on Friday, Aug. 13.

All in-person students will return to campus on Monday, Aug. 16.

The wearing of masks will be optional, and COVID vaccinations are not required to return to school.

Students are urged to practice social distancing as much as possible and wash their hands frequently.

High-touch surfaces in school buildings and buses will be cleaned and sanitized daily.

“With regard to COVID-19 in the school setting, mitigation and prevention efforts will be ongoing throughout the school year,” the plan reads in part. “SCS will report positive cases to ADPH as required by the Notifiable Disease Rule. Staff and students are expected to follow the guidelines they are given by the ADPH/physician with regard to isolation and quarantine.”

To view the full SCS reopening plan, visit Shelbyed.k12.al.us/Covid-19/2021-2022-Reopening-Plan.pdf.

More information and updates regarding COVID-19 and data specific to Shelby County can be found at Covid.cdc.gov and Alabamapublichealth.gov.