Gulf Shores City Schools will require face masks

By Melanie LeCroy / melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 8/11/21

Gulf Shores City Schools announced that face masks will be required on school campuses effective Monday, Aug. 9. The first day of school for students is Aug. 11.

Gulf Shores City Schools made the …

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Gulf Shores City Schools will require face masks

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Gulf Shores City Schools announced that face masks will be required on school campuses effective Monday, Aug. 9. The first day of school for students is Aug. 11.

Gulf Shores City Schools made the announcement Friday, Aug. 6 in a statement from Superintendent Matt Akin which read:

Effective Aug. 9 2021 Gulf Shores City Schools will require that masks/face coverings be worn while inside school buildings and at indoor school events. Students in grades two through 12 will be required to wear masks. Masks will not be required for outside activities such as PE and athletics. Masks are required to be worn by all students and employees on all school buses. The decision to require masks was made after consulting with the school board, local health officials and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“I believe that this decision is in the best interest of our students, staff and community. We will regularly monitor the COVID-19 related data in our schools and community, and we will make the mask requirement optional as soon as possible,” stated Dr. Matt Akin, Superintendent. “Our goal is to keep the Gulf Shores family safe and healthy and to provide in-person instruction for the entire school year.” Contract tracing and assigning of quarantine will be performed by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

During the Aug. 5 Board of Education meeting, Board President Kevin Corcoran spoke to those in attendance and watching the Facebook Live feed about how hard the decision has been. The Alabama Department of Public Health issued guidance but left the decision to mandate masks a local decision.

“This is a very tough decision and something that everyone on this dais lost sleep over and will continue. Dr. Akin gave a very impassioned talk to the high school faculty today talking about how much this decision is weighing on him and I must say, as unpopular as it might be that this is not a decision that should fall to a local superintendent whose doctorate is in education. But state health officials seem unwilling to step forward,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran went on to explain that the board sought the advice of subject matter experts. The three sources they referred to are the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The school board went into executive session after the work session to discuss the COVID-19 Back to School Policy and Akin’s recommendation.

Gulf Shores City School’s held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Aug. 6. According to Akin, 158 people (84 students and 74 adults) had signed up as of Aug. 5 but walk-ins would be accepted. By the end of the clinic, it was estimated nearly 300 vaccinations were given.