Students and staff in the Tuscaloosa City Schools system will still be required to wear face coverings after Gov. Kay Ivey allows Alabama's statewide mask mandate to expire Friday, a system spokeswoman confirmed.

The mask mandate, which requires the use of a face covering in most public places in the state, has been in place since last July in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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In early March, Ivey opted to extend the mandate past Easter weekend but vowed that the order would be allowed to expire Friday.

"Let me be abundantly clear: After April 9, I will not keep the mask order in effect," Ivey said in a March press conference.

Now, it will fall to smaller, local agencies to decide if they will implement their own mask requirements in lieu of a mandate at the state level.

Lesley Bruinton, the director of public relations for Tuscaloosa City Schools, said the school system will keep its current mask policy in place until the end of the spring semester and the school board will re-evaluate before summer learning classes and the fall semester begin.

Terri Brewer, the director of public relations for the Tuscaloosa County School System, said county officials are considering how to handle their own rules and plan to communicate more information about their mask policy later this week.

Stay connected to The Tuscaloosa Thread for more information from both school systems as it becomes available.