Rockdale County Public Schools students will be masking up once again for the 2021-22 school year, Superintendent Terry Oatts announced Saturday.

Staff and students will be required to wear masks indoors and on busses, physically distance at least three feet from each other whenever possible and keep up hygiene measures, Oatts said in his announcement. While most students will learn in-person, a virtual learning option will be available for those who prefer it. 

“The rationale I offer for beginning the 2021-22 school year maintaining our core and high-impact mitigation measures is that 44% of our students do not yet have access to vaccines as they are under the age of 12,” Oatts said. “The CDC has indicated that all unvaccinated individuals should continue wearing masks indoors.”

Oatts said the COVID-19 Delta variant is of concern and warrants caution in the approach the district takes in order to prevent a surge in infections.

“As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will continue to carefully monitor our local public health data to inform our ongoing mitigation measures,” Oatts said. “As Superintendent, I remain committed, as does the Rockdale County Board of Education, to prioritizing our staff and students’ safety and well-being.”

Oatts said despite some public opinions being against mask-wearing and pandemic safety measures in schools, he will make decisions based on public health.

The announcement was shared on Facebook and received 67 comments and 32 shares. Some commenters thanked the district for the decision, while others expressed their disappointment.

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