Metro schools decide which COVID-19 protections to use as they reopen this fall

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — As many school districts across Georgia prepare to go back to school, many are making the tough decision about how to handle the rising COVID-19 rates in children.

This includes Henry County which has decided to make masks optional within the district.

“I don’t like wearing a mask all day and I’m sure the kids don’t but I do think the option to where a mask is important,” said parent Trichelle Simmons.

Students and teachers across Georgia are gearing up for the 2021-2022 school year. In just a few weeks, thousands will not only go back to school but many will also return to the classroom for the first time.

As COVID-19 rates continue to rise among children, school districts are forced to decide what in person learning will look like.

Henry County Schools plan to make masks optional.

“I’m definitely going to require my children to wear a mask,” said Simmons.

Health experts from Emory are also concerned.

“It’s the talk of the town of whether school districts should mandate masks or make them optional,” said Dr. Veda Johnson. “And with the rising cases it’s a real concern.”

But school officials tell Channel 2 they are confident about the decision.

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“Our superintendent and BOE have been very cognizant of all the date that’s out there and they are doing everything in their power to mitigate any issues associated with that,” said Dr. Earlene Crump, Exec. Director of Family Services.

The Henry County School District is helping families make the transition by opening up a new welcome center. It’s a one stop shop for school enrollment, registration and district services.

And while it’s not mandated, they are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 12 years and older.