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Cobb schools now ‘strongly’ recommending masks for students

The Cobb County School District late Friday released its reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year, which now says the masks are “strongly recommended” for students and are “expected” of staff.
The Cobb County School District late Friday released its reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year, which now says the masks are “strongly recommended” for students and are “expected” of staff.

Face masks and coverings will not be required for Cobb County School District students, teachers, or staff when the 2020-21 year begins in August.

The district late Friday released its reopening plan for the upcoming school year, which now says the masks are "strongly recommended" for students and are "expected" of staff. The first day of school has been delayed by two weeks to Aug. 17.

The policy contradicts a Facebook post earlier this week by Cobb County School Board member Charisse Davis. She said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale told board members in an email that students and staff would be required to wear masks or face coverings.

The district's reopening plan, which can be viewed on its new website, allows students and staff to wear face shields, requires social distancing in every possible way and provides additional personal protective equipment in school clinics.

The school district said more than 100 system employees, including teachers and administrators, worked for the last three months to come up with a plan that adheres to public health guidance.

Cobb County schools new website provides information about the two options parents will have to choose for their children to start the new school year: A traditional classroom setting or learning remotely. Registration for either option starts Monday and ends July 22, and parents must log on to ParentVue to make their selection.

RELATEDCobb delays start of 2020-21 school year by two weeks

The site also has a list of health and safety protocols the district will implement. Some of these include installing protective barriers in various locations at each school; encouraging students, staff, visitors and families to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms; designating isolation areas for anyone exhibiting coronavirus symptoms; and providing hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies on buses for cleaning and disinfecting.

Field trips have been suspended until further notice. Schools will also eliminate large group gatherings and activities that require sharing items, prohibit non-essential visitors, limit volunteer activities and configure classroom space to maximize distancing.

The district said building a plan for the second largest system in Georgia has been and “will continue to be a tremendous task as COVID-19” evolves.

Cobb County schools has 19,000 employees and 113,000 students.

“It is more important than ever that our team comes together to serve students, they need us more than ever. This year will be like none other, and I am confident the plan to start the 2020-2021 school year is based on the needs of students and gives parents the flexibility to make the choice that is best for them,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale.


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