School masks

The Cullman County School System is still preparing for schools to reopen on Aug. 20, but some of the system's roadmap for reopening has been released by Cullman County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette.

In an online post sent out Monday evening, Barnette said the wearing of masks will be allowed by the school system for families who do not feel comfortable sending their child to school without one, but they will not be required for students.

The Alabama State Department of Education released its own roadmap for reopening at the end of June, and that plan gives every student in the state the option to go to school in person or take virtual classes if they do not feel safe coming back to school.

The Cullman County School System sent out a survey in June to gauge the number of students who may want to stick with virtual learning, but nearly 100 percent of the families who responded said they plan to send their children to school in person, Barnette said.

"We do have some parents that would like to have their children take classes digitally instead of coming back to a face-to-face setting and that is ok," he said. "I realize that we have some students that have underlying health conditions that put them at a greater risk for health complications than others."

Barnette said plans are currently being finalized for all aspects of the school system, and shared some of the early details of the procedures that will be put into place.

- Facilities have been cleaned and will continue to be sanitized throughout the school year on a regular schedule.

- Some bus procedures are being put in place such as having family members sharing seats or sitting in close proximity to one another and encouraging students to wear a face-covering while riding the bus, but the system is still not requiring it at this point.

- Procedures for lunchrooms will be different from school to school based on enrollment and facilities but schools will be providing lunches for students.

"I want our parents to be confident that keeping their children safe and healthy is our top priority," Barnette said in the post. "I cannot wait to have students back on our campuses beginning August 20th, 2020!"

Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238.

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