August 23, 2021 6:00am

Mask mandates and Alabama schools

Influential Birmingham leaders want students to mask up

Photo of Ty West
Birmingham, AL Correspondent

Influential Birmingham leaders would like to see students mask up.

That’s the big takeaway from this month’s Birmingham Power Poll, which is a monthly poll of local leaders.

The Birmingham Power Poll is not a scientific poll, but does offer a window into the perspectives of influential Birmingham community and business leaders.

More than half of respondents (52.8%) said they believe there should be a statewide mask mandate for students in Alabama’s K-12 schools.

Another 26.4% believe there should be mask mandates in schools, but that the decision should be made at the local level as opposed to a statewide mandate.

Despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and numerous public health groups, many school systems in the state are not requiring masks and the issue has been hotly debated at public meetings.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has said she does not plan to make any mandates in regard to the Delta variant, although the majority of Birmingham Power Poll respondents don’t appear to agree.

Only 43.6% of respondents said they agreed with the way Ivey has handled the Delta variant. The variant has fueled a rise in cases that is straining the state’s hospital network and has resulted in a severe lack of intensive care unit beds.

While the uptick in cases hasn’t had the extreme economic effects of last year’s initial wave of Covid-19, it is affecting local employers’ strategies.

More than three-quarters of respondents (76.4%) said their organizations have altered plans – such as their return-to-office strategy or events – in response to the Delta variant.

The Power Poll surveyed 134 leaders with a response rate of 41%.

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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