With Gov. Kay Ivey's "Safer At Home" Order expiring April 9, area schools and universities are evaluating whether they will continue to enforce some of its policies.

One big-ticket item in the new "Safer Apart" order is that wearing a mask in public is only optional. Tuscaloosa City Schools and the Hale County Board of Education have both announced that they will not be subscribing to this, as masks will be required for the rest of the 2020-21 school year.

The Tuscaloosa County School System is prepared to make masks optional upon expiration of the Safer at Home order.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

The University of Alabama sent an email to its students on April 1 outlining how the institution will respond to the expiring Safer at Home Order.

According to the email, physical distancing requirements are going to reduce from 6 feet to "at least 3 feet," regardless of space or capacity. This applies to any group of people that consist of folks not from the same household.

As for masks, all UA students, faculty and support personnel will still be required to wear them "until further notice." But, the university is offering a little leeway outside of campus buildings.

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"After the statewide mask mandate is lifted and until further notice, UA's campus mask requirement will continue indoors without changes, and outdoors only when physical distancing is not possible among individuals in groups," the email read.

Summer classes will follow the same protocols, though the university is preparing for a fall semester free of COVID-19 restrictions.

SHELTON STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Shelton State Community College decided Friday that they will be following suit with the other school systems, mandating mask wear through the end of the school year.

"In response to [Ivey's] updated order and in consideration of information from the CDC, the ADPH, and the Alabama Community College System, Shelton State Community College will maintain its current on-campus COVID-19 guidelines," an email statement sent to the college's students read. "This includes social distancing protocols and campus mask requirements as detailed on the College's COVID-19/Coronavirus information webpage."

The email added that these requirements will continue "until further notice."

Ivey's Safer Apart order expires on May 5 at 5 p.m.

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