From The Tribune staff reports
JEFFERSON COUNTY — Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson issued recommendations for local schools on Monday as they prepare to welcome students next month.
Among the suggested guidelines were virtual school only for middle and high schools, full-time masks for Pre-K and elementary students and the cancellation of contact sports until there is a decline in COVID-19 cases.
Wilson urged schools to “strongly consider virtual instruction only (no in-person instruction) for middle and high school students throughout the first grading period (typically 9 weeks), except for those with special needs that warrant in-person instruction.”
Wilson said Pre-K through fifth or sixth grade students could attend in-person school provided classes are isolated, social distancing can be maintained and face covering are required at all times for students and teachers even when seated at their desks. Masks could be removed only for eating and drinking.
“Close contact sports pose an increased risk of spreading COVID-19,” Wilson said. “Consider cancelling these activities or postponing them until there is a significant decrease in viral spread in the community. Non-contact extracurricular sports and exercise should be encouraged, as long as appropriate disease control precautions for participants and spectators can be maintained, including locker room precautions and limiting shared rides to sporting events.”
Most area high schools began practice today after an announcement by the AHSAA that games could begin on August 20.
Wilson said an advisory group of 18 metro area physicians advised him in developing the recommendations and were unanimous in supporting the guidelines, though some physicians urged stricter measures. The list of doctors in the advisory group can be found in the link below.
You can read the full statement here.schools recommendations