Students who attend Richmond County Schools will be required to mask up when school starts Aug. 2.
The school system announced last week that it would be following the new guidance for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for K-12 schools.
School official say the safety of the school system’s nearly 30,000 students and 4,000 employees are a priority and that the decision is based on the School System’s collaboration with the Department of Public Health, current CDC recommendations and COVID-19 conditions in Richmond County – including positive case data, vaccine eligibility and vaccination rates.
Masks will be required for all (K-12) students, staff, and visitors to all Richmond County School System facilities and on school buses, regardless of vaccination status.
The Richmond County School System will reopen schools for in-person instruction for all students. Elementary students will start school on Thursday, August 5. Students in K-8, Middle and High Schools will start on Monday, August 9.
The School System will continue its partnership with the Department of Public Health to implement best practices in COVID-19 response and reporting. According to CDC and DPH guidance, students or staff identified as close contacts to a positive case for COVID-19 will not have to quarantine if both are properly wearing masks in the school setting.
Students will be permitted to remove masks during lunch and while outside. Accommodations will be made for students and employees unable to wear a mask for documented medical reasons.
According to the Department of Public Health, Richmond County has an average of 57 new cases of COVID-19 per day, similar to where the county was in the middle of July last year. The county has had 340 new cases in the last two weeks.
HOW TO GET VACCINATED: COVID-19 has killed more than 20,000 Georgia residents. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones die from a preventable virus. COVID vaccines are free and widely available statewide without insurance or identification. To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.