Atlanta, GA

Masks required for metro Atlanta schools once classes begin

Gené Hunter
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

(ATLANTA, Ga.) As schools in the metro Atlanta area prepare to open for the new school year, many districts are making decisions on mask mandates.

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) announced on Thursday that it will make masks mandatory for all students and employees at the start of the school year, which begins Aug. 5.

Superintendent Lisa Herring and Board Chairman Jason Esteves announced the mandate on Twitter. The district also published a statement on its website.

“Healthy and safe learning environments for our students is a top priority,” Herring tweeted.

The decision comes as the state of Georgia sees a rise in coronavirus cases, specifically among those that are unvaccinated. Health officials also note the highly contagious delta variant as the cause of the spike.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently advised that vaccinated students and teachers don’t need to wear masks in schools. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended masks for everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status.

Throughout the metro area, masks are now being required by APS, Clayton County and the DeKalb County school districts. In other districts like Cobb County, Marietta City schools and Gwinnett County masks are optional.

Fulton County Schools lifted its mask mandate on June 1 in advance of summer school. But the district will require masks on buses. As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the district had not announced any changes to those rules.

“Consistent and correct use of mask-wearing has been shown to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” APS said in its announcement.

APS is requiring everyone inside schools and district buildings to wear masks. Masks are also required on buses but will be optional during outdoor activities, like recess and P.E. classes.

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