(WHNT) — Madison City Schools will begin its spring semester with masks required for all staff and students.

According to a statement from Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols, the change in masking policy comes after an uptick in the positivity rate in COVID-19 cases in Madison County.

“With the past two weeks reaching above the high level of the [Alabama Department of Public Health] (ADPH), we will begin the new semester in a mask-required status for all staff and students,” Nichols said. “This mask status will remain in effect until we fall below the moderate level for two weeks as determined on Friday of the ADPH website.”

According to Madison City Schools’ website, students return for the spring semester on January 4.

Nichols said the school system will also review new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding positive tests and close contact exposure.

According to ADPH’s COVID-19 Dashboard, Madison County has a 33.7% positivity rate in tests with 3,518 positive tests over the last seven days.

To see the full statement from Madison City Schools, click here.