MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- The Alabama High School Athletic Association's decision to move forward with sports could pose a dilemma for some school districts starting the school year off remotely.

Mobile County waiting to see the AHSAA's plan before commenting. The AHSAA are set to release their full plan Thursday, July 23, at 1 p.m.

But the question remains: If it's not safe to go to class, will those schools participate in sports? We took that question to the state's top educator -- State School Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey. He tells FOX 10 News -- like they've done throughout this entire process -- they'll continue to help each school district navigate through the challenges inside the classroom and on the field with safety and public health in the forefront.

"I think we will have to continue to have discussions around as to what does that look like on the ground, when you go from remote learning only... And what does it look like for extracurricular activities, what's it look like for co-curricular activities and what's it look like as you make a plan to come back on to the campus," said Mackey.

Roughly 150,000 students -- in more than a dozen school districts around the state -- will be starting the school year remotely. That includes Mobile County's more than 53,000 students.

Mackey had a meeting Wednesday morning with all of the state's school superintendents. While the state was aiming for every student to have "in-person" and "remote" options -- Mackey says ultimately the decision is up to each district's school board.

"They look at the situation on the ground -- and they think we need to do this for our community, then we certainly have to support them any way we can. At the same time though -- we all know as I've talked to some of those superintendents that the time will come in the next several months, when we do have to bring more students back on campus and we want to help them prepare for that," said Mackey.

Meanwhile, as students prepare to return to class -- it appears face masks will be a necessary part of the school supply list.

"As we look forward to the brand new school year -- that health and wellness are the #1 issue. We know that the face coverings do work. Even though we've only been doing this for about half a year the research is pretty good that it can mitigate the spread. To that end -- we certainly hope that in schools we will have cooperation from students and parents for face coverings as much as possible," said Mackey.

During his webinar with the school superintendents, Mackey says they also discussed Gov. Kay Ivey's $170-million grant to support remote learning.

Meanwhile, FOX10 News will carry the AHSAA's announcement at 1 p.m. on air and online.

All content © 2020, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.


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