Cobb schools: Masks to remain optional in upcoming school year

Clarkdale Elementary School fourth grader Josiyah Cole (center) wears a mask as he waits for the rest of his peers to board the school bus after school was dismissed in Austell, Monday, October 5, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
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Clarkdale Elementary School fourth grader Josiyah Cole (center) wears a mask as he waits for the rest of his peers to board the school bus after school was dismissed in Austell, Monday, October 5, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

The district plans to address mask usage on buses soon

The Cobb County School District said it will update its protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 before students return to the classroom.

Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said Thursday during the school board’s work session that the district’s announcement will be made by the middle of next week. The district’s first day of school is Aug. 2.

ExploreMetro Atlanta schools mask policies vary, despite new CDC guidance

Ragsdale said masks will remain optional for students and staff, but the district is working with its counterparts around the metro area to “make sure we’re on the same level playing field.”

The changes will address mask usage on buses and updated quarantine rules, Ragsdale said.

ExploreMore stories about Cobb County Public Schools

Clayton and DeKalb county school districts are the only metro systems to announce they will require masks for students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, when the new year begins.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance last week for public schools that allows individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 to forego face coverings in school buildings.

At present, children under age 12 are not eligible for vaccines.

School districts’ mask policy

Metro Atlanta districts have different policies on masks. Here’s who is mandating masks and who’s making face coverings optional at this time. Policies may change before the new school year begins.

Atlanta: mandated

Clayton: mandated

Cobb: optional

DeKalb: mandated

Fulton: optional

Gwinnett: optional