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MADISON, Ala. — Students and staff at Madison City Schools will be required to wear masks when classes begin on August 4.

The school system, which initially opted for optional masking, cited new recommendations from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) as the reason for the change.

Masks will required in all indoor school facilities as well as buses. They will not be required outside for extended day.

“I believe that this is the safest and least disruptive decision for our MCS family,” said Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols. “In the next few weeks, I hope that we will see an increase in vaccinations and a decrease in positive tests and the ADPH will make additional changes to the toolkit that will get us back to a mask optional setting for the district.”

Hand sanitizer availability and regular disinfecting of common spaces will return just as they were last year.

New protocol states students who are exposed to COVID-19 will not have to quarantine if they are distanced three feet or more and wearing a mask. Students who produce proof of vaccination or positive COVID-19 test results with 90 days and are asymptomatic are also not required to quarantine following exposure.

“Our goal is to always have as much face-to-face instruction as possible for our students,” said Nichols. “I believe these new guidelines will enable us to keep more of our students in the classroom this year.”

All visitors will be required to wear masks when entering school buildings, and be limited to emergency situations and special circumstances with prior permission.

The full revised reentry plan for Madison City Schools can be found here.