DeKalb County School District to keep mask mandate after winter break

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Students and staff in the DeKalb County School District must continue to wear masks indoors and on buses after the winter break, the district announced Wednesday.

“The district continues to monitor trends in reported COVID-19 cases, including the recently reported increase in the spread of the Omicron Variant,” a news release stated.

The choice to continue the mandate is based in part on surveys of students and staff, according to the district. Of the 668 students who responded, 56% preferred a mask mandate. And of the 6,000 employees who responded, 80% preferred it.

The decision was also made in consult with a medical advisory committee and in accordance to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Masks have been required in the district since schools reopened in January of this year, save for one month this summer when the mandate was relaxed and then reinforced.

Since school began in August, the district has recorded more than 3,500 COVID-19 cases, according to data posted to its website. The highest count — 930 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20. In its most recent report, the district documented 34 cases from Dec. 3-9.

Friday is the last day of school before winter break. Vaccination clinics and COVID-19 testing will continue in the new year.

Atlanta Public Schools announced last week that it will consider relaxing its mask mandate on Feb. 1, depending on COVID transmission in Fulton and DeKalb counties at that time.