DeKalb County School District to continue mask mandate in 2022

DeKalb County School District (DCSD) students, teachers, and staff will continue wearing masks for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year after community feedback indicated support of a mask mandate.

The school district sent a notification on Dec. 15 announcing that a mask mandate would remain in place when students and staff return from winter break on Jan. 4, 2022.

“The DeKalb County School District is committed to providing safe learning and working environments for students and staff. The district continues to monitor trends in reported COVID-19 cases, including the recently reported increase in the spread of the Omicron variant,” stated the news release. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the Omicron variant has now been detected in patients in at least 21 U.S. states, including Georgia. Preliminary data shows that Omicron may cause less severe illness, but may spread more easily than the Delta variant, said DPH officials.

“We value the stakeholder feedback that we have received,” stated DCSD officials. “DCSD collected data from a survey on mask-wearing for the second semester from students and staff. Fifty-six percent of the 668 students who responded preferred a mask mandate for all.

Out of the 6,000 employees that responded to the survey, 80 percent prefer the mask mandate continues in the second semester.”

DeKalb County School District (DCSD) students, teachers, and staff will continue wearing masks for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year after community feedback indicated support of a mask mandate. File Photo

“All staff and students will continue to be required to wear masks within DCSD buildings for the second semester,” stated the press release. “DCSD continues to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance and consult with our COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

Officials said DCSD will resume its COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics in the new year.

“Vaccination remains the top strategy for protecting our community,” stated the press release. “DCSD also encourages everyone to continue social distancing, wash their hands and follow the CDC’s mitigation strategies.”

All Georgians over the age of 5 are now eligible for COVID vaccination. According to the DPH website, booster doses of the vaccine are recommended for adults 18 and older who completed their first series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or two months ago for the J&J vaccine.

Those interested in free COVID-19 testing and vaccinations can visit www.freecovidtesting.us/dekalb/.

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