The Tuscaloosa City School Board met Tuesday evening to discuss and implement several COVID-19 mitigation policies for the beginning of the upcoming school year.

The hottest item on the agenda was a mask mandate for students, faculty and staff, which was approved to last through Sept. 10. Upon its expiration, TCS will review the policy and decide whether to continue with a mandate or just a "strong recommendation."

READ MORE: ADPH's Back to School Guidance

"The Tuscaloosa City Schools are committed to providing a safe learning and work environment," read a statement from the system. "Schools will continue to use social distancing and enhanced cleaning practices, promote handwashing, offer hand sanitizer, and encourage the use of water bottle filling stations."

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One of the lesser-discussed plans going into effect this school year affects TCS employees and the use of their time off.

Under the newly approved policy, any TCS employee who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to use their own personal leave to quarantine. But, if that employee can prove that they've already been vaccinated for COVID-19, they will be allowed to use "COVID leave" and not have to tap into their own.

This policy stays in effect until Sept. 30, 2021.

READ MORE: CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools

"We plan to get in school and stay in school," said TCS Superintendent Mike Daria during the board meeting. "We are educators and we rely on agencies for guidance on how to operate schools during this pandemic... We have to consult [ADPH and CDC] for guidance."

The Tuscaloosa Thread reported Monday that the DCH Health System is treating 105 patients for COVID-19, 27 of whom are in the Intensive Care Unit. Seven patients at DCH are currently on a ventilator.

 

Stay connected to The Tuscaloosa Thread for more information as details become available.

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