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Will Tennessee Valley schools still require masks after statewide mandate expires?

As Gov. Ivey's statewide mask mandate expires on April 9, school districts must decide whether to still require masks.

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. — Now that Alabama's statewide mask mandate has expired, Tennessee Valley school districts are left to decide whether to continue requiring masks to be worn.

Albertville City Schools announced on April 5 that following the expiration of Gov. Kay Ivey's mask mandate, masks will become optional in the district. Albertville City Schools said this decision was made after polling teachers, staff and the community task force.

"We ask that students have a mask with them at school and to wear them if they are in areas closer than 3 feet apart for more than 15 minutes," the district wrote in a Twitter post.

Jackson County Schools announced that masks will now be optional.

Lauderdale County Schools Superintendent Jerry Hill announced on April 2 that the district's mask policy would endfollowing the expiration of Gov. Ivey's mandate.

"It will no longer be a requirement that we wear masks," Hill said. "But we encourage our students and employees to be respectful of others."

Limestone County Schools Superintendent Randy Shearhouse announced that starting April 12, masks will be optional in Limestone County Schools.

“A majority of our faculty and staff are now vaccinated and are beyond the two-week window, therefore, reducing their need to quarantine,” Shearouse said. "Schools will continue to follow safety protocols including social distancing, frequent hand washing, and extra cleaning measures."

Madison City Schools Superintendent Ed Nichols announced that the district will continue to require masking within schools.

"Our district still has a large group of teachers and staff waiting to receive a Covid vaccine. We are working with our administrative team to return many of our springtime activities such as field day and awards," Nichols said

Madison County Schools announced on April 7 that the district will continue to require masks to be worn by students, staff and visitors.

This story will be updated as more North Alabama schools announce their decisions regarding mask policies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a plethora of information on how to protect yourself and other from the coronavirus.  

The virus can easily spread from person to person, so the CDC recommends you stay at least 6-feet apart from people not in your household. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breaths or talks, according to the CDC. Because of this, the CDC recommends you wear a cloth facemask when around others and in public. 

Additionally, the CDC recommends that you frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

Symptoms to look out for include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, a sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC. 

Click here to find more COVID-19 information from the CDC. 

If you suspect you have the coronavirus, you should seek out testing and self-quarantine. 

Click here to find more COVID-19 information from the Alabama Department of Public Health. 

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