Gwinnett school district drops mask mandate amid new CDC guidelines

Students arrive at Norcross Elementary School on Jan. 10, 2022. Gwinnett County Public Schools dropped its mask mandate Friday amid new CDC guidelines. (Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Students arrive at Norcross Elementary School on Jan. 10, 2022. Gwinnett County Public Schools dropped its mask mandate Friday amid new CDC guidelines. (Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s largest school district announced late Friday that masks will no longer be required in its buildings.

Gwinnett County Public Schools made the change hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines on masks.

The CDC now recommends universal masking in communities with a “high level of risk” and in counties where coronavirus cases are straining the health care system.

Gwinnett County is at a “low” level of community spread, according to the CDC.

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“Gwinnett County Public Schools will transition from requiring masks to strongly recommending the use of masks in its facilities,” the district said in a news release.

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This is the first time the district has dropped its mask mandate in buildings since school started in August.

The district has recorded more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases since the start of the 2021-2022 school year. The highest count — 2,528 cases — was recorded from Jan. 10 to Jan. 17. More recently, the district recorded 205 cases from Feb. 14 to Feb. 22.