August 6, 2021
Sheffield City Schools Families,
On Friday, August 6, the Sheffield City School Board approved my recommendation to implement a 4-week mask mandate for all indoor SCS facilities. This mandate will begin on Monday, August 9, and end Friday, September 3. This implementation is in response to the COVID-19 surge that is currently being experienced in Alabama. Hospitalization numbers in Alabama have increased more than 10-fold in the past month, from 178 patients hospitalized on July 3 to almost 1,900 on Thursday, August 5. Alabama’s daily case numbers have increased from around 200 cases per day to over 2,000 cases per day. With the original strains of the virus last year, a case of Covid-19 would typically spread the disease to 1 or 2 other people. With the Delta variant, the disease typically spreads to 3 or 4 other people.
I understand that the debate regarding masks is very divisive and everyone is tired of dealing with COVID protocols; however, the strong recommendations from our state health leaders along with the rising Covid-19 cases in Alabama show that we all must work together to do our best to keep our faculty, staff, and students in school. By reinstating indoor masking, we are hopeful it will give our schools the best opportunity to have more regular school activities this year and allow for in-person learning to take place in a safe environment. I believe that when it concerns the health of our children, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive.
According to ADPH’s toolkit, if students are wearing masks in the classroom and are distanced by three feet or more, asymptomatic students do not have to quarantine if they are exposed to Covid-19. If last year taught us anything, we know how important in-person instruction is for our students. In order to keep our students and teachers in the classrooms, masks will be required inside school buildings. This will significantly reduce the number of students who need to quarantine.
It is my hope that by September 3, the current surge will have subsided and the majority of our staff and students 12 years and up will have received a vaccination. As a result, we will be able to lift the mask mandate and enjoy a great 2021-2022 school year. Please email me at email@example.com or call me at 256-383-0400 if you have questions, comments, or concerns.
Sheffield City Schools