Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Monday issued a supplemental emergency proclamation, updating state guidance to reflect a federal change regarding social distancing in public schools.
The CDC on Friday updated guidance to say that K-12 school children should remain at least 3 feet apart when in school, a change from the previous rule of remaining at least 6 feet apart. The CDC noted the change was due to three studies that show the practice of keeping students apart by a distance of at least 3 feet can be safely adopted “where mask use is universal and other prevention measures are taken.”
Ivey’s latest proclamation makes that same change, noting that K-12 school children should be kept at least 3 feet apart.
“These schools will be required to take reasonable steps to keep students from different households three feet apart from one another,” a press release from Ivey’s office states.
“Alabama continues moving in the right direction, and we feel very optimistic that COVID-19 will soon be in our rearview mirrors,” Ivey said in a statement. “Until then, we want to ensure that we are doing what we know is right in Alabama, based on recommendations by the CDC and other experts. That also means that we can continue taking reasonable steps to return to normal.”
“Alabama schools, for the most part, are setting the example for the rest of the nation, because the majority of our students and teachers are back in the classroom,” Ivey said. “These latest guidelines from the CDC make the return to the classroom even easier for our schools, and I hope that districts here in Alabama and around the country follow the science and get our kids back in the classroom. Students have not had a voice during the pandemic, and I think we can all agree that it is past time for students and teachers to have the opportunity to be back in the classroom.”
There were 387 new coronavirus cases reported among students and staff at K-12 schools statewide last week, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. That was a decrease of 25 percent from the previous week’s new case count.