Marietta City Schools imposes mask mandate

Credit: Marietta City Schools

Credit: Marietta City Schools

Marietta City Schools is the latest metro Atlanta school district to impose a mask mandate due to a spike of coronavirus cases.

The school system announced Thursday that masks will be required in buildings and on buses beginning Monday.

“The data in recent days continues to be compelling and, as the person responsible for the safety and learning of our students and staff, I strongly believe we need to change our course of action,” Superintendent Grant Rivera said in an email message to parents.

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Georgia has the nation’s fourth-highest number of children currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to health data. Only one in five Georgians between the ages of 12 and 17 is fully vaccinated. Children under age 12 are not eligible for vaccines.

State health officials say the uptick in coronavirus cases is due to low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant.

While most of the core metro Atlanta school districts require masks, they remain optional Buford, Cobb, and Fayette school systems. Henry County Schools recently imposed a mask mandate, while Fulton extended its mandate to all campuses. Last week, Fulton also announced plans to open an mask-optional campus.

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Rivera said the school system recorded 96 cases of the coronavirus between Aug. 3 and Wednesday. Of those, 45 cases were reported between Aug. 3 and Aug. 13. One student’s case was linked to a school-based transmission, he said.

The school system then recorded another 51 cases between Saturday and Wednesday. The cases of 15 students and one staff member were also linked to school-based transmission, he said.

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The superintendent said that he expects the mask mandate will be temporary, but did not provide a timeline for when it would expire. Masks will not be required for outdoor activities or when students and staff are eating.

Vaccine event

Marietta City Schools will host a COVID-19 vaccination drive 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26 at Marietta Middle School and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27 at Marietta High School for eligible district students, families and staff.