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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – A temporary masking order will be in effect when Colbert County Schools students return to class.

Superintendent Chris Hand sent a letter to parents stating the policy will be in effect until Friday, September 17.

The mandate covers all areas where students and staff are in close proximity both during the school day and in the after-school program.

“Our COVID-19 positive numbers have quickly risen over the last five weeks of school and I fear the trend will only continue, especially following the long holiday weekend,” said Superintendent Hand in the statement. “There is currently more than triple the number of our students and employees who were positive at the start of school and the number who are currently positive. Statewide, approximately 24.8% of all cases diagnosed in Alabama over the past four weeks have been in children. Even worse, we have recently seen some of our own students who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19.”

Hand said that if cases in the district continue to rise, they will consider additional steps to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19.