Alabama health officials urge schools to keep mask mandates


Roxana Weeks, 8, and sister Farah, 4, stand with their family as students and parents gather outside the Governor’s Mansion to urge Gov. Greg Abbott to drop his opposition to public school mask mandates, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Austin, Texas. The Texas Supreme Court has blocked mask mandates ordered by two of the nation’s largest counties that defied Republican Gov. Greg Abbott as COVID-19 cases surge. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama health officials are urging schools to continue requiring masks despite a decline in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The state department of public health said Tuesday almost 23 percent of COVID infections in Alabama are among children up to the age of 17. As of Monday, at least 30 children were hospitalized for the disease, and three were on ventilators.

In a news release, the department said consistent and correct mask use in schools has helped reduce the number of cases of COVID-19 and helped schools remain open to in-person learning.

Alabama is leaving masking decisions to local districts, though many are requiring them over the objections of parents.

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