Cherokee County students will not be required to wear masks in class, school board decides

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — The Cherokee County school board approved re-opening plans Thursday night, and not everyone is happy about it.

The school board decided that students will not be required to wear masks.

[COUNTY-BY-COUNTY: Plans for returning to school this fall]

Face masks were the big point of contention, and really the only part of the reopening plan in question, for a group of parents and teachers.

Most who spoke up at the meeting were pushing for a mask mandate. But Cherokee schools will only require teachers wear masks and strongly encourage it for students.

Even with many changes to the schools and schedule to make it safer, some parents say they won’t be sending their kids back to the schools and teachers spoke up asking for masks to be required for students.

[Cobb County schools to require face masks, school board member says]

“Just because not enough people are dying to call this a crisis doesn’t mean that this doesn’t do lasting damage to a lot of people,” one teacher told the board.

[RELATED: Gwinnett Schools push back start date, will require masks]

“I never thought that I would be in a situation where I had to decide to live or I want to teach, and yesterday, I came to the decision that I want to teach, I love the children,” another teacher said.

But some parents say a mask mandate for their kids could actually expose them to risks in the future.

“There’s no long-term studies done on children wearing masks for an extended period of times, and that’s concerning,” one parent said.

Most parents at the school board meeting spoke in favor of a mask requirement for students to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It’s going to be impossible to keep them apart from one another especially without the masks,” another parent said.

But other parents said they want the option to choose to keep masks off their kids.

“I get the fear, but at some point, with the stats we have now, we have to start living our lives,” another parent said.

The first day of school in Cherokee County will be Aug. 3.