City Schools drop mask mandate

Students at the orientation for the new Little Ridge Intermediate School wore masks under a mandate that has ended this week, according to City Superintendent Brian Jett. He said the number of COVID cases within the school population has fallen to an all-time low, but the decision will be reassessed if case numbers rise again.

Fort Payne students are no longer required to wear masks throughout the day, according to City Superintendent Brian Jett.

“After consulting with local pediatricians and local health care providers we will change to personal preference for masking inside our facilities,” Jett said in an Oct. 15 letter to parents, students, faculty and staff of the Fort Payne City Schools.

Initially, they were to have that option on August 9 when classes returned, but the mandate was continued after a surge of local cases sparked by the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19. DeKalb County Schools have made the masks optional this school year. A group of protesters spoke out against the city’s mask mandate at last month’s school board meeting.

The mask decision will be reassessed weekly to determine if it needs to be altered.

Jett said the schools will continue contact tracing when students are diagnosed with COVID, and quarantine rules will continue to be enforced for students with the virus, as would be the case with any serious transmissible disease.

“This decision was made after careful consideration. It is based on the number of COVID cases within our school populations which is at an all-time low,” Jett said.

“I believe that this practice is the least disruptive decision that our school system can make to insure the delivery of face-to-face instruction. Of course, you know that masks will be allowed to be worn at any time whether the individual is inside or outside of our facilities. Individuals should not be harassed or excluded if they prefer to wear a mask. It is solely a personal decision to wear a mask or not while you are within our facilities.”

All students, passengers and drivers continue to be required by TSA federal mandate to wear the masks while riding on any Fort Payne City school buses until further notice.

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