Sujindren Selvanayagam

File / The Outlook

Dadeville High School math teacher Sujindren Selvanayagam teaches with his mask. Tallapoosa County Schools kept its indoor mask mandate after the statewide order expired April 9. 

Alexander City Schools may have dropped its indoor mask mandate but Tallapoosa County Schools is still holding out.

Superintendent Ray Porter said face coverings will still be required through May 28, the last day of the spring semester, though masks will be optional during graduation ceremonies.

"We will ask that people try to follow social distancing, but we are going to go more by the governor's recommendations," Porter said. "Our events will be outside, so masks will be optional."

On April 9, Gov. Kay Ivey dropped Alabama's statewide indoor mask mandate, while the CDC has reduced its social distancing guidance from six feet apart to three. While several cities including Montgomery put their own mask policies into place, Montgomery allowed its mask mandate to expire Sunday.

Assuming the current COVID-19 trajectory continues, masks will be optional for Tallapoosa County students returning to class next fall.

"Unless something happens over the summer to change our thinking, we will probably not come back to school with masks on," Porter said. "(But) I also didn't know last March that this was going to happen. So if there's a large flare-up we may still, but the intent is for us not to start school in masks."

Over 60% of Tallapoosa County Schools personnel have been vaccinated for COVID-19, Porter told school board members at a work session Thursday. The figure is expected to rise as those who had recently had COVID-19 are increasingly able to get vaccinated (while vaccination is safe as soon as COVID-19 symptoms subside, the CDC suggests waiting 90 days after infection to free up vaccines for those without natural immunity).

According to the school system's COVID-19 dashboard, 20 students are currently in COVID-19 quarantine, five of which for testing positive.