Mandatory masking ends in Fayette schools

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Face coverings now optional except on buses, system says — 

Despite a slight uptick in new Covid cases and quarantines last week in Fayette County schools, the system announced in emails to thousands of parents that the 2-month mandatory masking has ended — for now.

The caveat is that if cases and quarantines increase by an unspecified amount, mandatory masks for all students, teachers, staff and visitors to Fayette’s 24 schools will be re-imposed.

Meanwhile, the system is “highly recommending” that masks continue to be worn to help keep the declining case numbers low.

The system’s weekly Covid report showed 18 new cases — 16 students and 2 staff members — in the week of Oct. 16 through Oct. 22. Those cases resulted in 38 in-school quarantines and 1 student sent home.

That compares to 12 cases and 13 quarantines the previous week.

Here’s what the system email to parents said:

Dear Fayette County Public Schools Families and Staff:

Thank you for your trust and cooperation as we continue to work through the Covid-19 pandemic and the Delta variant. Because of your support, we have been able to keep our doors open and our students in school, and for that, we are grateful.

Our Covid-19 Task Force has been closely monitoring the school system’s case numbers; there has been a significant decrease in our quarantines and positive cases since we implemented the face covering mandate two months ago. Additionally, there has also been a downward trend of positive cases in Fayette County.

Based on these numbers, we have decided to go back to optional face coverings starting Monday, October 25, 2021. Although we are allowing optional face coverings, we are highly recommending that all students, staff and visitors wear face coverings while inside a Fayette County Public Schools building. This is one of the best ways for us to continue in-person learning.

Please note the following:

The Covid-19 Task Force will continue to monitor positivity rates for Covid-19, and if there is an increase in positive cases and quarantines in our buildings, the face covering mandate may be reinstated for the entire school system or individual schools.

The federal face covering mandate for students and drivers on school transportation is still in effect, and has been extended through the middle of January 2022. All school bus riders must wear face coverings while being transported by Fayette County Public Schools in order to comply with the mandate.

The school system will use the Georgia Department of Public Health’s modified quarantine protocol for close contacts. Students can remain in school as long as they wear a face covering for 14 days, and are not having Covid-19 symptoms or test positive for Covid-19. Visit our Covid-19 FAQ for information on quarantines and close contacts.

Parents/guardians are asked to continue to monitor their children for any symptoms of Covid-19. Please do not send sick children to school. Contact your school nurse with questions and to seek guidance on when a sick child should return to school.

Fayette County Public Schools will continue to take precautions to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 (distancing as much as possible, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, encouraging hand washing/sanitizing).

We are thankful for the partnership of our families, teachers, support staff, and students through these first 12 weeks of school. Our recent efforts have helped to keep more students in the classroom and participating in their extracurricular activities. We remain committed to providing students with as much in-person learning as possible throughout the school year. We will continue to closely monitor the number of positive cases in our schools and community, and will take appropriate action when needed to ensure that our schools remain open.

Sincerely,

Fayette County Public Schools

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