Marietta schools reopen testing site, will now require masks in school buildings

MARIETTA,Ga. — The latest Metro Atlanta school district to reinstate a mask mandate is Marietta City Schools.

The reason according to Superintendent Dr. Grant Rivera was a combination of 42 students and nine teachers testing positive for COVID-19 and classroom data indicating the problem may get worse.

Rivera also said the school system would be bringing back their testing site at the Marietta Performance Learning Center on Lemon St. beginning on Monday.

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Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose spoke with Rivera about his thought process and why he felt now was the time to make the move.

“Every single day I hear from a teacher who says I can’t get a test,” Rivera said. “I had a teacher reach out to me on Sunday. She said I got to the clinic at 7 o’clock in the morning and I waited for 7 hours to get tested.”

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Rivera sent a letter to system families that explained his feelings about reinstituting the mask mandate and why it could not wait.

Prior to this announcement, Marietta and Cobb County Schools were the only remaining districts in Metro Atlanta without a mask requirement.

“You ask people who wanted data to drive the decision. We found the data,” Rivera said. “I think for the families who told me on the phone and via email I was using their child as a guinea pig, well then, I owe you an apology.”

Rivera explained that between the compelling data in recent days showing high rates of community transmission, the information was too compelling to ignore.

“We’re not just going to double down and say we’re right,” Rivera said. “We’re actually going to acknowledge when we need to make a shift.”

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The testing site at Learning Center will be open to Marietta school students, their families and employees. The system will also continue operating its on-campus vaccination clinics for students, families and employees.