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Masks optional at CCSD

During Wednesday’s school board meeting, Chambers County Superintendent Casey Chambley announced the CCSD’s plan for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Teachers will report on Aug. 3 for institute training, while students will start on Aug. 9, both of which were the originally scheduled dates.

“We are staying in touch with local health officials about issues with COVID and this new COVID strain,” Chambley said. “The state of Alabama came out and said they are not going to mandate masks for schools. It is my recommendation, after talking with other superintendents and talking to health officials, to not mandate masks to be worn by the students. They can still wear them if they would like to wear them and the teachers can wear them if they would like to wear them. I don’t believe that we are in a situation where we need to mandate that. I spoke to our principals [Tuesday] and knowing that this new variant is out, things are changing daily. If something were to happen before we started school that mandated a different change, then we would definitely look into changing that. At this point in time, we don’t feel like there is any reason to push school back.”

In the past 14 days, Chambers County has reported 58 positive COVID-19 cases. Overall, there have been 21,822 COVID-19 vaccines administered in Chambers County.

“None of the numbers and the infectious numbers that are coming out are showing a need to postpone school or to offer remote or virtual options,” Chambley said. “The state superintendent agrees. The state superintendent and the governor’s office agree with that at this time. We’ve removed the state of the emergency for the state, but they are keeping an eye on it. There are certain hot spots of this going on around the state, and we will certainly take a look at it.”

The school board also heard from Dave Shirley, who asked the board to allow CCSD seniors to use the senior portraits he has shot to be allowed in the yearbook. 

“I’m not trying to take over the yearbook. I’m just trying to allow the people that want to come to me for senior portraits to be allowed to put their images in the senior section,” Shirley said.

Chambley informed Shirley that each school has the autonomy to chose which photographer the school wanted to use for annual portraits. He also said the board would gather more information and will get back to Shirley.

“I think it is probably applicable and important that we look into it and find out why it is being done this way. I think, what I have found, it is more of a contractual issue,” Chambley said. “When we bid these things out and hire a company to take the portraits, I think there are things in contracts that they have been given.”

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