Big Sandy Elementary School to require masks as COVID-19 precaution

Ken Roberts
The Tuscaloosa News
Big Sandy Elementary School will require masks inside its building through Sept. 3.  [Photo/Hannah Saad]

Big Sandy Elementary School will require masks for students and staff beginning immediately and continuing at least through Sept. 3, Tuscaloosa County School System officials said Friday.

"While the percentage of COVID-19 positives at BSE remains at about 1%  schoolwide, the infection rate has risen to approximately 20% to 30% in two of our classrooms. Students and teachers in those two classes will quarantine for the next six school days, as a measure to limit possible exposure to additional students," according to  a message sent to students, families, faculty and staff

The temporary shift in mask procedures applies only to Big Sandy Elementary and does not affect any other school in the Tuscaloosa County system. 

RELATED: Tuscaloosa City Schools report 126 students, 10 employees with COVID-19 infections

The Tuscaloosa County School System has had a mask-optional policy since classes began Aug. 12, although officials have strongly recommended the wearing of masks in school buildings. Masks are required on school buses, per federal health guidelines.

The temporary mask requirement at Big Sandy Elementary School is applicable to anyone inside the school building. Students will not be required to wear masks while eating or drinking, at PE or during outdoor activities.

The message said the school plans to resume the mask-optional policy when students return to classes Sept. 8 after the Labor Day break.

"Thank you for working with us to achieve a goal we all know is so important – keeping our students in school," the message states.

The message is signed by Glynis Rhodes, Big Sandy Elementary principal, Keri Johnson, the county system's superintendent, and Cindy O’Quinn, the director of health services for the system.

Tuscaloosa City Schools have had a mask requirement in place since the Aug. 12 beginning of classes, with plans to go mask-optional by Sept. 10.