SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Local parents are reacting to word that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign an executive order that would restrict public school districts from mandating masks in schools.
Kemp’s office says students can still voluntarily wear face coverings — schools just can’t mandate them. Officials say the announcement comes after low COVID-19 deaths, positive tests and hospitalizations in the state.
Health experts say the turnaround is due to an increasing number of people getting the coronavirus vaccine.
Ashley Lloyd, the PTA president of Jacob G. Smith Elementary School in Savannah, says she’s already hearing from parents.
“I have definitely heard from some parents who are happy about it because they had concerns about the children wearing masks every day and being required to wear them,” she said.
But Lloyd says she’s also hearing from parents who are concerned because younger children probably won’t be vaccinated.
“And so not knowing what things will look like by August, and should we have an outbreak at a school, how will schools be able to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID or spreading the virus?” Lloyd asks.
As a parent, Lloyd told us she sees both sides and understands that some parents just don’t want their child to be forced into wearing a mask. But she has concerns for her own child.
“Honestly, I believe we should have a certain level of local control,” she said.
Officials at Bryan County Schools said they made the decision last week that there would not be a mask mandate.
The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System sent this statement:
At this point, no specific mask directives have been decided upon for the 2021-22 SY. Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools plan to be open in the fall 5-days a week in person under an operational format that is as close to pre-COVID conditions as health and safety conditions will allow. As we approach the start of school in August all families will be notified of our operational conditions. We are monitoring and will follow state and CDC guidance and will make decisions that align with our commitment to the safety, health, and wellness of all staff.