GWINNETT County, Ga. (CBS46) -- Gwinnett County Public Schools reversed course on its mask requirement for the upcoming school year Tuesday, announcing that masks must be worn inside school buildings, even for vaccinated people.
Starting Wednesday, July 28, masks will be required for students, staff and visitors to all facilities and on school buses, regardless of vaccination status, the school district reported.
This comes as the CDC announced the latest guidance for K-12 schools issued on Tuesday.
“The facts and recommendations are clear… masks do make a difference and we must do all we can to keep students in school, in person," said CEO, Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.
The school district says the decision takes into account current conditions, the rise in COVID-19 case rates in Gwinnett County, and the ineligibility of children age 12 and younger for the vaccine.
In addition to the CDC’s guidance calling for masks to be worn by everyone in the K-12 environment and recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the following considerations also played a role in today’s decision by district leaders, according to the press release:
- GCPS’ primary concern is the health and safety of students and staff.
- It is critical for students to be in school and to benefit from in-person instruction.
- Elementary students and young middle school students currently are not eligible to be vaccinated.
- Many GCPS students and employees who are eligible to be vaccinated are not vaccinated.
- The CDC and other health partners indicate wearing a mask is a key tool, even for vaccinated individuals, in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
- A federal executive order requires all students on school buses to wear masks.
- In the classroom setting, students who are identified as close contacts to a student who is positive for COVID-19 will not have to quarantine if both students are wearing masks. Quarantined individuals could be out of school for up to two weeks.