Back to School

Masks now required in Fulton, Troup school districts for 1st day of school

Four north Georgia school districts kick off the second full week of back to school on Monday.

Fulton County, Gwinnett County (grades 4, 5, 8, 11, 12), Oglethorpe County students last names A-L and Troup County are back in class on Monday.

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Fulton County made a major change to its mask policy on Thursday. The county will now require all students and staff to wear masks if they live in high-community spread areas.

Troup County also changed course on Friday and announced masks would be mandatory.

Gwinnett County and Troup County are also requiring masks in the classroom. Masks are optional but encouraged in Oglethorpe County.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Channel 2′s complete guide for back to school 2021 in north Georgia]

Here is what parents and students in these districts need to know ahead of the first day.

Fulton County

All students, teachers and visitors in cities with high-transmission rate will be required to wear masks until the level of spread drops. As of Friday, 13 of the 14 cities in Fulton County exceeded levels that are considered high-community spread.

Johns Creek is the only one with moderate levels and where masks are still optional. A complete list of affected schools can be found here and will be updated weekly.

Schools will have social distancing of 3 to 6 feet where possible and large group gatherings will be limited.

All students and employees must notify the district if they have been directly exposed to an individual with COVID-19, received a positive COVID-19 result, or are awaiting test results. This should be done through the parent and employee portals.

A full list of COVID-19 protocols for the district can be found here.

Gwinnett County (Grades 4-5, 8, 11-12)

Most of Gwinnett County Public Schools’ nearly 180,000 students will be attending school in-person; however, families of approximately 3,400 students selected for their children to remain digital this year.

GCPS will have a staggered back-to-school plan:

  • Aug. 4 – Grades K, 1, 6, 9, and students receiving Special Education services in a small-group setting begin in-person classes
  • Aug. 5 – Grades 2, 3, 7, and 10 begin in-person classes
  • Aug. 9 – Grades 4, 5, 8, 11, and 12 begin in-person classes

The digital learning schedule may be different from the in-person schedule.

The state’s largest school district announced that masks will be required for all students and staff. Schools will plan for appropriate mask breaks.

Buses will operate at maximum capacity as usual. Physical distancing will not be possible on school buses.

Oglethorpe County (Last names A-L)

Oglethorpe County will split back to school between two days. All students whose last names start with A-L will begin Monday. Students whose last names start with M-Z will begin Tuesday.

At this time, masks will not be required at school or on the bus; however, the district says if numbers rise to a high-risk level in the school, masks will be strongly encouraged indoors and are always available at each school.

Unvaccinated visitors are encouraged to wear one.

Employees, students and parents/guardians are asked to self-report positive COVID-19 results to the district nurse at

To begin the year, the Oglethorpe County School System is implementing a modified quarantine plan.

After a close contact exposure in the school setting, students will not be required to stay home from school or school-sponsored events if they remain symptom-free; however, a student may choose to follow the traditional quarantine plan.

Parents will be notified by text and email if a positive case occurs in their child’s class and if their child is identified as a close contact. Parents will be asked to monitor their child’s health and are required to contact the district nurse if symptoms develop.

A full list of COVID-19 protocols can be found here on the district’s website.

Troup County

As of Aug. 6, masks are now mandatory for all students and staff while in Troup County schools and buildings regardless of vaccination status. They will also be required on school buses.

Students and staff who are unvaccinated are highly encouraged to wear masks.

Temperature of students, teachers and staff will be taken at the entrances of all school buildings.

Water fountains will remain turned off. Students can bring water bottles from home and use the water filling stations installed throughout the schools. All schools and buildings will receive antimicrobial treatments.

Troup County School System says it understands that vaccination is a personal choice. For those who are interested in the vaccine, the school has posted a list of several sites in Troup County on its website.

A full list of COVID-19 protocols in place can be found here.


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