Athens Schools Extend Shutdown; Alexander Imposes Mask Mandate

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Athens schools are extending their COVID-related shutdown until after Labor Day. And the Alexander Local School District announced that starting Tuesday masks must be worn throughout the school day.

The Athens shutdown began Friday when the district found itself with so many bus drivers out due to COVID-19 that it could no longer get enough kids to school. Schools are required to provide transportation and cannot operate just for those students who are able to make it in on their own.

The initial plan was to reopen this Wednesday. But Monday afternoon, Athens Superintendent Tom Gibbs said that the district’s situation is now even worse. Nearly half of the bus drivers have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are under quarantine for symptoms or possible exposure.

The plan now is to reopen schools next Tuesday, the day after Labor Day.

Alexander, meanwhile, announced Monday morning it was scheduling a special board meeting this Tuesday evening to implement a mask policy.

But then Monday afternoon the district announced it will require masks starting Tuesday morning because of the number of students and staff needing to be quarantined. This policy will remain in effect until the next regular school board meeting on Oct. 20. The special meeting is still scheduled for Tuesday at 5 p.m.