Local school districts review mask policies as new CDC guidance is released

ATLANTA — New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on COVID-19 restrictions and masking may change policies for kids in schools. The restrictions vary by district and county.

The issue of masking all students was hotly debated in Gwinnett County. The district policy required masks for everyone at all schools until case levels drop to “Moderate.” The county had been in the “Substantial” to “High” spread areas according to the CDC, but Friday afternoon adjusted their measurements, putting Gwinnett now in the lowest risk level, with no masks recommended indoors or in schools.

“I would like to see them give us the option,” said parent Philana Nowak, who spoke out at Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting. “Give me as the parent to say yes or no to the masks.”

During a board work session, Associate Superintendent Dr. Al Taylor gave an update on COVID-19 and the district’s policy.

He said parents, students, teachers, and the community remain evenly split, citing a request for feedback where the district received more than 25,000 responses.

“Slightly higher participants responded that they wish we do continue to keep all of our mitigation efforts in place, including the mask mandate,” Taylor said.

Just after the new CDC guidance was released, a district spokesperson sent Channel 2 Action News this statement:

“Gwinnett County Public Schools remains committed to following the guidance of health experts in making decisions on how we can best serve students safely. As the CDC updates its guidance, GCPS district leaders will review that information thoroughly, make the necessary adjustments, and then communicate those changes to our school and district level employees, families, and community members.”

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