UPDATE: Clarke County schools to require masks for all students

ATHENS, Ga. — The Clarke County School District announced Monday that they are revising the mask policy for the 2021-2022 school year and making masks mandatory for all students.

The new policy is effective immediately.

The district said Friday that they would only require masks for elementary and middle school children.

The school district said they are closely watching the COVID-19 cases in the county, which led to the decision.

“Athens-Clarke County COVID-19 cases are steadily increasing, and the presence of the highly contagious Delta variant has been confirmed,” officials said. “In Clarke County, less than 1 in 5 eligible children have been vaccinated and less than 39% of all Clarke County residents are fully vaccinated.”

Officials said requiring masks for everyone exponentially increases their ability to safely remain open for in-person learning.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Channel 2′s complete guide for back to school 2021 in north Georgia]

Here are the guidelines released for the school year:

  • Masks will be required indoors for all students, Staff, and Visitors, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Masks will be required for all Students and Staff on CCSD buses.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated individuals who are wearing a mask are not required to quarantine if exposed to COVID.
  • Social Distancing of 3 ft. will be promoted wherever possible in all schools.
  • COVID-19 reporting and contact tracing will continue in all schools.
  • Department of Public Health Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines will be followed in all schools.
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette will be emphasized in all schools.
  • If the masking requirements present challenges for your child due to special needs or other circumstances, please contact your child’s school. Each scenario will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and accommodations will be made, as appropriate.

School officials said three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 this week after a district leadership retreat.

The school district also is reminding parents that the state requires an up-to-date vaccination record to attend school. The deadline has been extended to Oct. 1, 2021.

BACK 2 SCHOOL HEADLINES

Here is other important back-to-school information:

  • Free School Supplies: All items on the school supply list for PK-8 students will be provided without charge. Many schools have supply closets for families needing additional support.
  • Open House Information for Schools is located at: https://tinyurl.com/OpenHouseCCSD
  • Vaccination Records: Earlier this week we reminded families of the state requirement for up-to-date vaccination records (Georgia Form 3231) to attend school. The deadline for compliance has been extended to October 1, 2021. No hardcopy forms are required. School nurses can access your child’s current records through Georgia’s Immunization Registry.
  • High School Virtual Options: Although full-time Virtual Learning option is not available, virtual courses will be available online. Check with your school for more information.
  • Field Trips will be allowed and conducted in accordance with our public health rules.
  • After School Programs will be available.
  • Student Registration for the 2021-2022 School Year remains open to CCSD families at: https://tinyurl.com/CCSDRegistration

READ MORE HERE.

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