Some parents still pushing for virtual learning option, mask-wearing at Cobb schools

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Parents in Georgia’s second-largest school district are calling on leaders to give them the option to flip back to virtual learning.

Masks are currently optional in Cobb County schools.

Cobb County started school on Monday—and parents that Channel 2′s Chris Jose has been in touch with are divided.

One side likes optional mask-wearing. The other side is asking the district to follow the guidance from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In an interview with Cobb and Douglas Public Health Director Dr. Janet Memark, Memark urged parents to send their kids back to school with a mask on regardless of vaccination status.

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Today, parents on both sides want the district to hear where they stand.

BACK 2 SCHOOL

“Inability for students to have any type of virtual learning, if they’re out on contract tracing, it needs to be fixed,” said parent Jeff Clark. “I think these are good compromises for people and if you’re going to allow masks to be optional, which I personally support, I think they need to make that additional adjustment to the policy.”

“To keep everybody in the classroom, the only easy way to do that, at this point, is to ask or require people to wear their mask,” said parent Allison Feldman.

Jose said he asked Cobb County schools why they’re not allowing virtual school this year and he said officials responded by saying teachers have individual jobs. They’re not doing both face-to-face and virtual learning at the same time.

Here are Cobb County’s health protocols:

Face Coverings

• Strongly encouraged but optional for students and staff, unless following CCSD quarantine protocol.

Quarantine

• Students or staff who are identified as a close contact and are asymptomatic are able to return to class or work the next day

if the student or staff member remains asymptomatic and wears a mask while on school district property for ten days after exposure. Students or staff who are identified as a close contact and are symptomatic must follow directions contained in the close contact letter.

Isolation

• Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate in accordance with GADPH guidelines.

Social Distance

• Social distancing in classrooms and school buildings when appropriate and feasible.

• Limit large group gatherings when appropriate and feasible.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

• Hand sanitizer provided in all classrooms, common areas, and school buses.

• Encourage frequent hand-washing.

• Daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces in school buildings.

• School buses will be disinfected after each morning and afternoon route.

Communication

• A member of the school’s contact tracing team will contact the parent/guardian by phone and email if their student is identified as a close contact.

• The Cobb COVID-19 website will be updated each Friday with positive/active COVID-19 cases.

School Clinics

• If a student exhibits COVID-19 related symptoms while in the school clinic, the nurse has the discretion to request the

student to wear a mask and/or to be isolated while in the clinic being assessed by the nurse or waiting for parent pick-up.

Volunteers

• Non-staff volunteers will be limited in their ability to enter the school and volunteer in roles that involve any degree of proximity to students during the instructional day. At the discretion of the principal, volunteers are allowed to enter the school and work in an isolated location away from students and staff. Volunteers are still welcome on campus for after-school activities and special school events. Additionally, and until further notice, no parents/guardians will be permitted to eat lunch with their child in the school cafeteria.

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