Cullman City Schools

Cullman City School Principal Tricia Culpepper escorts two students inside during the first day of school in Aug. 2020.

Students and staff members in the Cullman City School System will still be required to wear a mask or face covering when indoors and in close proximity to others after the state’s mask order expired Friday. 

Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff issued a statement Thursday afternoon to make the announcement.

“As Governor Ivey intends to remove the mask requirement from the public health order on April 9, 2021, the Cullman City School System will amend the procedure on masks/facial coverings as well. Effective Monday, April 12, masks will only be required in indoor settings in which three feet separation cannot be maintained for less than fifteen minutes.

“Although the trend of active cases in our school system has been minimal over the last two months, there is still the threat of Coronavirus impacting our employees who are part of the most vulnerable population during this pandemic. Adherence to this amended procedure is appreciated in advance and we look forward to successfully finishing a historic school year in the city of Cullman and state of Alabama.”

The Cullman County School System will not be requiring the use of face masks after Friday, but will still recommend students and staff members wear them when in close proximity with others or if they feel more comfortable doing so, Cullman County School Superintendent Shane Barnette said in a video posted to social media Friday. 

“We will ask everybody to use some personal responsibility,” he said. “There will still be some situations that we recommend wearing a mask, if you’re in a small group or something like that, but if somebody decides to wear a mask, we want them to feel comfortable wearing a mask.”

While masks are now optional, county schools will still be working to ensure that students are as safe as possible for the rest of the school year, Barnette said. 

“We going to continue to do all of the cleaning, and we’re going to social distance as much as is appropriate,” he said. 

Wallace State Community College, which has required masks in all communal areas since the governor’s order began, will continue to require students, staff members and visitors to wear a mask when in shared spaces such as reception areas, hallways, lobbies, restrooms, classrooms, laboratories (to include computer labs), conference rooms, break rooms and libraries.

Cullman Regional Medical Center also announced Friday that it will continue to require anyone entering the medical center to wear a mask. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, Cullman Regional will continue to require visitors, patients and staff in the facility to wear a mask in accordance with current CDC recommendations for healthcare facilities,” Cullman Regional Chief Medical Officer William Smith, MD said in a press release. 

An hour south of Cullman, Alabama’s largest city extended a mandate requiring face masks in public.

On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council voted to extend the mask requirement through May 24.

The decision came on the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Alabama will receive $44 million to expand vaccination efforts. Alabama ranks last in the country for the percentage of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to CDC data.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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

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