SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Masks will no longer be required for students and staff in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) this fall. Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett announced Wednesday masks will be optional. This decision comes after Governor Brian Kemp’s latest order restricting school districts from making them mandatory.
Anyone on a school campus will now have a say if they want to keep the mask on or take it off. School leaders said they’ve already started hearing from parents who are concerned about their children’s safety. Other parents are happy with the change to the mask rules.
“What parents want is for masks to be optional in the upcoming year,” Parent, Jeanne Seaver said.
“When the school year 2021 begins we fully expect that wearing a mask will be optional for staff and students,” Dr. Levett said.
This announcement comes more than a year after mask requirements were put in place in SCCPSS schools. Parents who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting say they should be able to decide what’s best for their child.
“Those can choose to wear a mask if they please but they should not be forced to wear masks. Kids are not superspreaders of the virus,” Parent, Meghan Holbrook said.
The school district will not be allowed to ask anyone if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 if they decide not to wear a mask. That order comes from Governor Kemp when he banned vaccine passports.
“Some parents have registered concerns about that. But we’ve also said to them that it is our expectation that they will in the fall have the right, staff and students, to wear a mask,” Levett said.
Board President Dr. Joe Buck said he supports the parent’s choice to make their student wear a mask or not.
“I would only say that part of the obligation in my opinion is that if you’re not going to wear a mask and you’re not going to require your children to wear a mask, that you have indeed been vaccinated,” Buck said.
Dr. Buck is warning of a potential situation where COVID-19 could spread in a school building from people who are not vaccinated.
“I know it is a personal decision, but I hope that you will not just consider your own likes and dislikes you think are being imposed on you and try to keep everyone safe together,” Buck said.
The district said they will function as close to pre-COVID operations as possible. Students and teachers who start summer school on Thursday will still be required to wear a mask.