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City Schools of Decatur will require face masks for the upcoming school year

COVID-19 Decatur

City Schools of Decatur will require face masks for the upcoming school year

Photo is from the City Schools of Decatur website.

Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur will now require masks for all students, staff and visitors in all CSD facilities, in response to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CSD Superintendent Maggie Fehrman announced the new policy on LinkedIn.

The district’s website has also been updated with the announcement, which also states more information is to come in the Friday Follow-Up this week.

“City Schools of Decatur has been transparent throughout the planning process for the 2021-2022 school year that as guidance from the CDC is updated, that we will review our mitigation strategies and update them needed,” Fehrman told Decaturish.

On Tuesday, July 27, the CDC announced that everyone in K-12 schools should wear masks regardless of vaccination status and that children should return to school with proper prevention strategies in place, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. The CDC also updated its mask guidance to recommend that vaccinated individuals wear masks in public, indoor spaces.

“Based on this updated guidance from the CDC, City Schools of Decatur updated our masking policy to align with this new guidance from the CDC to mandate masks for all staff and students in all CSD facilities,” Fehrman said. “City Schools of Decatur is committed to providing students with in-person learning five full days a week and at this time, universal masking is an essential component for that to happen.”

CSD has continued to waiver on its decision regarding masks as the summer has gone on.

At the July 13 Decatur School Board meeting, school officials announced the district would require masks for elementary and middle school students, and for unvaccinated high school students during the upcoming school year.

But a few days before the School Board meeting, Fehrman hosted a town hall on July 8, along with some staff members and members of a parent advisory group, to provide an update on CSD’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies. At the town hall, Fehrman said CSD would continue universal masking for all students and staff at all CSD facilities.

“We also believe that wearing masks is essential to help the spread of COVID, to minimize that spread of COVID within our school system. We’ve seen last year we had really good mask compliance with our students,” Fehrman said at the town hall.

Fehrman first presented the recommendation of masks being optional for vaccinated high school students and staff to the School Board during a work session on June 22.

At the time, the district was requiring masks in all CSD buildings and Fehrman’s recommendation was the at the high school level, fully vaccinated students and staff would have the option to not wear a mask. But masks would be required for elementary and middle school students.

“We would recommend continuing mandat[ing] masks in buildings where students have not had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated and this includes asking our teachers to be good models for our students so that they see adults also wearing masks properly,” Fehrman said at the June 22 work session.

During the meeting, Fehrman said the district was trying to closely align its mitigation plan as much as possible to the recommendations from the CDC and she looked at the agency’s general policy for masks and the DeKalb County Department of Health, which recommended masking for unvaccinated people in schools.

“The other thing to consider is no other metro districts are requiring masks,” Fehrman said at the work session. “If we are going to make a policy within CSD to be outside of the realm of every other metro school district, we have to have a really good reason for that. I can stand behind mandatory masks K-8. Mandating masks in high school takes it to a level that’s way outside of the norm.”

Since that meeting, Atlanta Public Schools and the DeKalb County School District announced that masks would be required for the upcoming school year.

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