Tuscaloosa City Schools may bring back masks next week

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Those who work at or attend Tuscaloosa City Schools could return to masking up as early as next week if COVID-19 numbers don’t drop, the system announced Monday.

Students returned Jan. 5, but according to the announcement, the system is already experiencing a COVID-19 case average of more than 1%. If the two-week average for COVID-19 cases remains above 1% as of Jan. 14, they will return to masking for at least two weeks, said TCS Superintendent Mike Daria.

“At that point, we will monitor for another two weeks,” Daria said. “If the two-week average is at 1% or below, we will move back to masks optional.”

If the average remains above that threshold, the masks stay on.

According to TCS’ real-time COVID-19 data tracker, which you can view here, as of Jan. 12 there are:

  • 236 TCS students quarantined/isolated because of an active COVID-19 case, representing 2.13% of the student population of 11,063.
  • 43 TCS employees quarantined/isolated because of COVID-19, representing 2.99% of 1,429 employees. Of those, 39 are experiencing an active case of COVID-19.

<p><p>The full letter released to parents is available below:</p><blockquote><p>Dear TCS Families,</p><p>We thank you for your patience and support as we work through this Omicron surge. This communication serves to keep you posted on where we are specific to masks being used in our school system. Masks are currently recommended but still optional.</p><p>Our system adopted a 1% two-week positive student case benchmark for the use of masks in the Tuscaloosa City Schools. This week serves as the second week in the calculation of the first two-week period of this semester. As of today, the two-week average is trending above 1% (1.55%). The two-week average for this first semester will include the days from last week and this week.</p><p>As we enter this week, we will continue to update the TCS Tracker daily and monitor the two-week average. <strong>Should the two-week average be above 1% at the end of this week on January 14, the TCS will move to “masks required” on January 18. </strong>Should this be the case, we will send communication stating such later this week.</p><p>Should we move to “masks required” we will use the very same metric two weeks later (A two-week period from January 18-28) to determine if we remain as such or return to masks being optional.</p><p>We remind parents to monitor for symptoms and report positive cases to their child’s school.</p><p>Thanks for working with us to keep our children safe and in school.</p></blockquote></p>

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