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As COVID cases rise, Eufaula City Schools reverse mask decision

((Source: Eufaula City Schools))
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 6:47 PM EDT
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EUFAULA, Ala. (WTVM) - After a full week of an optional mask policy, students at Eufaula City Schools will be returning to school Thursday, August 19 with an enforced mask mandate.

“It just didn’t sit right with me,” said Lavette Forte.

Forte is a mother who would do anything to protect her second-grade daughter in the Eufaula City Schools system.

”It’s just me, as a concerned parent, because my baby does have asthma,” Forte added.

As the number of students having to quarantine went up, the previous mask policy also didn’t sit right with Eufaula City Schools Superintendent Joey Brannan.”

Our positivity rate has grown, but not nearly as much as our close contact rate,” Brannan said.

While Forte has always been in favor of requiring masks from the beginning of the school year, she is even more passionate now.

A student in her daughter’s class tested positive for COVID and she was not told to place her daughter in quarantine.

“I’m just trying to get the school board’s attention to at least require masks, especially for the younger children because they can’t get vaccinated,” Forte expressed.

With more than 100 students quarantining due to close contact throughout the schools, the board unanimously reversed its mask policy from optional to mandatory.

“What we start looking at was how do we get back ahead of this,” the superintendent said.

The mask mandate is not for the entire year, but will remain in place from now until September 17.

“If we get a positivity rate of two percent or higher or an exposure rate of ten percent or higher, what we will do is require masks in that school,” Brannan explained.

After the recommendation to reverse the mask policy, Forte says the school board is taking a step in the right direction. “That was the aim and we got some answers. So, lets see how it goes from here.”

Eufaula Schools Superintendent Joey Brannon says he is hoping that during this time when students are wearing masks it will give those students who are not vaccinated time to get vaccinated and slow down the spread of COVID-19.

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