Metro Atlanta school districts are moving to mask optional mandate

Atlanta, Ga- Many Atlanta metro districts are proposing to open a mask-optional campus. On July 27, The CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommended that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in K-12 schools amid the surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide in 2020.

As a result, school districts across metro Atlanta have updated their mask policy in response to the CDC’s recommendations.

Districts like Atlanta, Fulton, Marietta, and Fayette, etc… asserted that masks would be required to be worn at all times for any indoor activities (with leniency on outdoor activities). Now there is a push for a mask-optional mandate as COVID-cases decrease.

In The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton county schools Superintendent Mike Looney announced that he plans to lift the district’s mask mandate after young students become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

During a board meeting, Looney states, “We intend to allow families 30 days to consider becoming vaccinated, and at that time, we will make masks optional.”

Looney continues that the district will publish the school’s COVID-19 case numbers beginning Oct 22nd. At which point, families will be notified on whether masks will be required at their school the following Monday.

Board members have applauded the notion, but many parents are outraged as mask-optional policy puts students at risk, while others disprove of the masks altogether.

Fulton county was confronted with dozens of protestors about the mask-optional mandate during a board meeting.

The crowd’s chants of “no more masks” could be heard by the officials conducting business inside. They pressed signs reading “Lions not sheep” and “Control freaks are the minority” against the meeting room’s windows.

Marietta school systems followed suit, beginning their first full school day of optional mask-wearing this Monday.

Superintendent Dr. Grant Rivera made an announcement last Thursday about the push for this mandate, “one more step in establishing some degree of normalcy in our schools, as the data indicates conditions have changed significantly from the start of the school year.”

“I feel like the administration, and the school board has been very thoughtful in all the decisions they’ve made,” a mom said about the decision.

“I think we should require a mask because our school is pretty big in size. We just need protection in general,” says a Marietta student.

Following schools have maintained or updated their mandates:

Atlanta Public Schools- Atlanta Public Schools will implement a universal mask policy for the fall semester. The mask policy will be in effect for all students, staff, and teachers in all schools and buildings.

Cobb County Schools- Masks are optional for students and staff in school buildings, on school buses, and at extracurricular activities.

Clayton County Schools- students and staff will wear masks at all times. Visitors will be allowed to visit schools on the first two days of school. All visitors will be required to wear a mask and practice the district’s other COVID-19 safety guidelines/procedures.

Dekalb County Schools- Masks are required in school buildings for all students and staff regardless of vaccination status. Masks are also required on school buses.

Fayette County Schools- Starting Aug. 24, masks are mandatory for all students and staff. The mandate will be in place until at least Sept. 17. The district announced they would also stop quarantining close contacts.

Douglas County Schools- Masks will be required in buildings and buses for all students, staff, and visitors, effective August 4. Masks must be worn by passengers and drivers on DCSS school buses.

Clarke County Schools- Masks will be required indoors for all students, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks will be required for all students and staff on CCSD buses.

Gwinett County Schools- As of July 28, 2021, masks will be required for students, staff, and visitors to all Gwinnett County Public Schools facilities and on school buses, regardless of vaccination status. The schools will work to give students what are being called “mask breaks,” where students can safely remove masks for a time.

City Schools of Decatur- Face masks are now required in all CSD facilities.

Chattooga County Schools- Face masks are optional but not required. Masks are recommended where social distance cannot be practiced.

Bartow County Schools- Masks will be optional for the 2021-2022 school year.

Buford City Schools- Masking is optional at BCS. Students will be required to wear face coverings on school buses.

Caroll County Schools- Face coverings are optional for students, staff, and guests to Carroll County Schools but health officials suggest the use of face coverings indoors. Masks will be available upon request.

Cherokee County Schools- Staff and students are not required to wear masks in CCSD schools or offices at any time but can choose to wear them. CCSD will continue to provide disposable masks to individuals who might request them.

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