City Schools of Decatur recommends wearing masks for upcoming school yearFILE 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.
This story has been updated.
Decatur, GA — During the 2022-2023 school year, City Schools of Decatur will recommend staff and students wear masks while indoors and will require all school visitors to wear masks while in CSD buildings.
Masks are recommended indoors when DeKalb County is in the high level of community spread, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, the community level is high in the county.
“This decision was not made lightly, and I understand that there are strong feelings on both sides of this decision,” Superintendent Maggie Fehrman said in her weekly newsletter. “I consulted with the Board of Education, school and district leaders, the Teacher Advisory Council, and I solicited feedback from the COVID Advisory Committees on our mitigation plans. I know there are members in our community who would prefer CSD mandate masks when our community is experiencing ‘high’ community spread.”
Under a new state law, children do not have to wear masks if a school district mandates them. During the legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill that would require school districts to create a mechanism for parents to opt their children out of a mask mandate.
Fehrman discussed implementing a mask mandate with the COVID advisory committees, the school board, and district leaders.
“However, as we worked through the logistics of monitoring and enforcing a mandate when parents have the legislated option to opt their child(ren) out of wearing a mask at any time, it was evident that this would be impossible for our staff,” she said. “We are fortunate to have readily available vaccinations and testing services for our community. These, along with the other mitigations CSD has in place, will provide several mitigation layers identified as best practices by the CDC.”
CSD continues to align its mitigation strategies with the guidelines recommended by the CDC.
“CSD is committed to providing a rich and engaging learning environment that promotes equitable and exceptional outcomes for our students, even in the face of challenges related to the pandemic,” Fehrman said. “Please contact your principal if you have questions about COVID-19 mitigations at your child’s school.”
Here’s what to expect for the 2022-2023 school year:
– Staff and students who are not up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations will be required to quarantine if identified as a close contact, even if they are asymptomatic.
– Individuals who have symptoms of an infectious disease, including COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, and gastrointestinal infections should stay home when sick and get tested for COVID-19.
– CSD will frequently clean surfaces to reduce the risk of spreading germs by touching surfaces.
– The district will optimize ventilation and improve indoor air quality to reduce the risk of contaminants and germs spreading through the air.
– Schools will communicate with parents, guardians and staff who were in a class with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 48 hours. Schools will also send a letter to the entire school community to notify families and staff if an individual with COVID-19 was identified in the building within the last 48 hours.
– School nurses will report positive cases to the state Department of Health. CSD will report positive cases on the COVID-19 weekly report.
– Diagnostic testing should be performed on anyone that has signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or following a recent known or suspected exposure.
– The district will follow quarantine and isolation procedures established by the CDC.
– Contact tracing will be completed in response to outbreaks of COVID-19. CSD will consult the Department of Health if an outbreak occurs.
– The school district will teach and reinforce proper handwashing to lower the risk of spreading viruses.
To learn more about CSD’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies, click here.
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