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FLORENCE, Ala. – Florence City Schools will require students in Kindergarten through Sixth Grade and staff to wear masks indoors starting with the school year.

The Florence City Board of Education voted on the masking requirement during a Board meeting Tuesday night.

The Board attributed the decision to students under the age of 12 who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the increase in COVID-19 cases in our area, especially among children.

FCS also strongly recommends but does not require, the use of masks for students in 7th through 12th grades. Masks will be required for everyone on a school bus.

Students do not have to wear a mask indoors while they are involved in physical education and while eating.

FCS will reevaluate masking requirements as the 2021-2022 school year progresses.

The Florence City Schools Superintendent Jimmy Shaw spoke after the school board meeting.

“Last year, 2,499 FCS students missed more than 25,000 in-person instructional days because they tested positive for COVID-19 or they were a close contact of a person testing positive for COVID-19. Virtual education is an excellent tool in the FCS toolbox, but it is not the correct resource for all situations. For the overwhelming majority of Falcon Families, we learned that in-person instruction was not just a want but also a need for our students’ mental, emotional, and academic health. This school board and I are making decisions to keep our students and teachers in the classrooms and keep them physically safe. Most students and families in grades 7-12 can choose whether or not to take the vaccination. Our children in grades K-6 have no choice. If the health circumstances change at grades 7-12, we will come back to the table and make whatever changes necessary to keep our students in school and put additional measures in place to prevent further spread.”

FCS Superintendent Dr. Jimmy Shaw

A full Back to School Guidance Plan will be released later in the week.