Clayton County to require staff, visitors to wear masks at schools

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Beginning Monday, employees of Clayton County Schools will be required to wear face masks because of a national uptick in the spread of COVID-19.

The directive, which also applies to visitors to school campuses, does not mandate face coverings for students, the school system said in announcing the measure Thursday. The district said it will follow guidance of Senate Bill 514, which allows parents to opt their children out of mask mandates.

“As positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the state and nation, we must take necessary steps to ensure employees and students are afforded a safe learning and work environment,” Clayton County Schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley said. “This is a necessary step to protect all that enter our schools and facilities.”

Clayton’s move follows new mask mandates for school employees of Gwinnett County Schools, staff in Atlanta and Gwinnett County government buildings and in Cobb County courts. DeKalb County also requires masking in government buildings and public places, a mandate the east metro community put in place in July 2020.

Federal data indicate all of metro Atlanta is experiencing high levels of COVID-19 infections. Hospitals also are seeing a surge of patients, putting a strain on a system that is struggling to find enough nurses to staff the needs of medical facilities.