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Mask update: Auburn, Opelika and Lee County school districts make masks optional
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Mask update: Auburn, Opelika and Lee County school districts make masks optional

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Opelika Back to School 2

Opelika High School students head home for the day after the school’s first day of the 2021-2022 school year on Aug. 9, 2021.

After consulting with members of the local medical community, Auburn City Schools and Opelika City Schools will be making masks optional for students, staff and visitors starting Nov. 1, and Lee County Schools made masks optional earlier this week.

The Auburn and Opelika districts began the 2021 school year requiring masks. Lee County Schools started with an optional mask-wearing policy, but after two weeks, a spike in positive COVID cases forced the school system to require all individuals to wear masks.

On Tuesday, the Lee County Board of Education voted to make mask-wearing optional inside school buildings and facilities, effective immediately.

Masks are still required on school buses in all three districts, because school buses remain under the authority of the federal Transportation Security Administration.

Auburn and Opelika schools have reported improved conditions and consistently low numbers of positive COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks.

Auburn City Schools will allow masks to be optional as long as the average number of positive cases is 52 or less every 2 weeks and the total positivity rate for the student and staff population remains under half a percentage point, according to a release.

Auburn City Schools will report weekly COVID data on Sunday evenings.

Opelika City Schools will also be monitoring the local COVID data and will require masks to be worn if the positivity rate in Opelika schools and in the community increase significantly, according to a release.

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