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City Schools of Decatur dropping mask mandate

COVID-19 Decatur Trending

City Schools of Decatur dropping mask mandate

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: Maria Bachman, an 8th grade science teacher for City Schools of Decatur performs a hands-on experiment using a candle to show the difference in airflow through several types of cloth used in masks. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur on Feb. 27 announced that the school district will no longer require students to wear masks as of Tuesday, March 1.

Instead, masks will be strongly recommended. CSD’s announcement follows a similar announcement by Atlanta Public Schools. The move comes as COVID-19 levels drop in DeKalb County.

Here’s the full announcement from CSD:

Dear CSD staff and families,

On Friday, after we communicated we would wait until March 8 to update our mitigations, the CDC provided updated COVID mitigation guidance. While the CDC’s school guidance is not yet updated, the CDC states that schools can follow the community guidance. Throughout my time as the superintendent, I have relied on CDC guidance as the standard to follow, and I will continue to do so at this time for all CSD facilities.

The new guidance uses different metrics to categorize community COVID levels. The new guidance only calls for masking in indoor public settings when communities are at a high level, and DeKalb County is currently at a low level of community spread.

Therefore, starting on Tuesday, March 1, CSD will update our mask policy to strongly recommend wearing masks instead of requiring them for staff and students at school and on buses. We are waiting until Tuesday to give families and our staff time to help students prepare for this change. We will continue to provide masks for staff and students who request them.

CSD will also continue to implement other effective mitigation strategies, such as weekly testing, contact tracing, physical distancing when possible, and asking students and staff who feel ill to remain home. All of CSD’s COVID-related information and resources remain available at https://www.csdecatur.net/covid19. I will share additional information, including an updated CSD-specific mitigations rubric, at the March 8 Board Meeting. You can still sign up for weekly testing. Click here to learn more.

Our community’s adherence to masking protocols is one reason COVID prevalence has diminished in the community. CSD is fully prepared to require masks again if COVID rates rise to the point where, per CDC guidance, they should again be necessary.

While this decision will be celebrated by many of our families, we acknowledge that it is concerning to many others. I want to be clear: families and students will be supported in their masking decisions, and bullying or harassment will not be tolerated. Families, please talk about this with your children and stress the importance of respecting the personal choice of others. I will also continue to wear a mask at all times when visiting schools.

We would like to share the following resources that may help with these conversations at home:

Coping with Anxiety as Mask Mandates Lift (Michigan Health)

Reassuring Children (Philadelphia Inquirer Opinion)

How to Deal With Bullying Over Face Masks in School (Boston Children’s Hospital)

National Association of School Psychologists Resources

Thank you for your patience and support as we have all navigated these challenging times. We continue our commitment to work together to provide a healthy, safe, and welcoming environment for our students, staff, and community.

– Dr. Maggie Fehrman

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