2021-22 COVID-19 Mitigation Procedures

Updated Masking Protocol:

02-28-22 Update Masks will be optional for students, staff members, and individuals on all campuses beginning Tuesday, March 1, 2022 across Huntsville City Schools (HCS).

03-02-28 Update: Masks will be optional on buses beginning Thursday, March 3, 2022 across HCS. This update aligns with the district’s Mask Optional status announced earlier this week related to new CDC guidance. Families are asked to speak with their student about this update for buses, and any student who wishes to keep wearing a mask may continue to do so.

The Huntsville City Board of Education voted unanimously to revise the district’s masking protocol during a special called board meeting on Feb. 28, 2022. 

“Masking optional does not mean no masking,” said HCS Superintendent Christie Finley. “The district supports the decisions of parents and staff with the implementation of this new protocol and asks for your continued patience and cooperation.”

The district waited on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before making any changes to its masking protocol. The CDC’s new guidance released on Friday pushes toward a lessening of restrictions and backing away from widespread masking mandates. 

The Superintendent has the authority to implement temporary mitigative measures as needed to address any surges in cases at our schools.  This ability to add mitigating measures has remained a constant during the ever-evolving nature of the pandemic.

The district will track needs by school, including student absences and staff shortages and will be responsive to specific, school-level needs. This new masking protocol will not change any current practices pertaining to COVID-19 positive or symptomatic individuals. The district will discontinue close contact exclusions.

The district is following local and national trends by returning to a sense of normalcy for students as the school year winds down. HCS asks families for their support in speaking with their child about these new protocols.


On July 26th, 2021, the Superintendent announced to the community that Huntsville City Schools (“HCS”) would be implementing procedures to address the spread of COVID-19.  The Superintendent is authorized to create these procedures under HCS Policy 4.18 regarding Public Health Precautions and Infectious Disease Mitigation which states that: The Superintendent is authorized to develop public health precautions and infectious disease mitigation procedures for all schools and other Board properties and all school sponsored activities. See Policy 4.18.1.


Procedures & Applicable Portions of Policy 4.18
COVID-19 Symptoms or Diagnosis Procedures for Students & Employees (Updated 02-11-22)
  1. COVID-19 Student Screening Tool.  HCS will use the ADPH COVID-19 Student Screening Tool when students present with symptoms of COVID-19.  This tool will help HCS school nurses identify possible cases of COVID-19 in schools.
  2. Reporting Suspected Cases.  Schools are no longer required to report confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 to ADPH. However, HCS will continue to report potential outbreaks of COVID-19 to ADPH.
  3. Individuals With A Positive COVID-19 Test Result: 
    • 5 Days Exclusion + 5 Days Return Masking: Individuals who test positive for or are diagnosed with COVID-19 must isolate by staying home for a minimum of 5 days and will then be required to wear a mask upon return to school for 5 additional days regardless of the current HCS masking designation (Masks Optional or Masks Mandatory).
    • Note: Exclusion period following 5 days only ends if positive individual has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have resolved.
  4. Symptoms of COVID-19 with a Negative Test Result for COVID-19.  Individuals who demonstrate symptoms of COVID-19, as per the COVID-19 Student Screening Tool, but test negative for COVID-19 will be required to comply with the following:
    • No Alternative Diagnosis. Symptomatic students who do not receive a confirmation of an alternative diagnosis must:
      1. Experience symptom improvement before returning from isolation.
      2. Be 24 hours without fever or fever- reducing medications; and
      3. Individuals who do not receive an alternate diagnosis must isolate by staying home for a minimum of 5 days following the onset of symptoms and will then be required to wear a mask upon returning to school for 5 additional days regardless of the current HCS masking designation (Mask Optional or Mask Mandatory).
      4. Note: Exclusion period following 5 days only ends if positive individual has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have resolved.
    • Alternative Diagnosis. If a symptomatic student receives a confirmation of an alternative diagnosis, the student can return to school as per HCS Policy 6.26’s guidelines which state in pertinent part: “In cases of acute or contagious illnesses, parents or guardians may be notified and required to pick up the student and keep the student home until the student is fever free and/or symptom free for twenty-four (24) hours.”
  5. Contact Tracing.
    1. Referrals to ADPH. Schools are no longer required to report confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 to ADPH. However, HCS will continue to report potential outbreaks of COVID-19 to ADPH.
    2. Letters to Families.  When HCS becomes aware of a known case of COVID-19 in a school, the students and employees assigned to the impacted classroom(s) will receive a letter informing them that an individual in their class has tested positive and to monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19.
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