Rome City Schools: ‘Mask mandate … will remain in place.’ In a Facebook announcement Monday night, Rome City Schools stated the system “will continue to follow the directives of the CDC and our local health officials regarding wearing masks on school property.”
The announcement comes following a Hometown Headlines’ first report Monday morning on Floyd County Schools basically giving principals the option to require masks. Hometown asked for clarity on the announcement Friday evening and has yet to get an official response.
CNN is reporting that on Tuesday, President Joe Biden is expected to announce that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will update its guidance for wearing masks outdoors, three people familiar with the expected announcement said. Again, outdoors.
Exchange Club, meeting in person with controlled attendance, mandates masks. This from the club’s weekly email:
Five weeks from the end of classes, push on to drop mask mandate at Floyd County Schools.
With a month of classes left, there’s an effort under way by some Floyd County Board of Education members and others to alter the mask mandate.
During last week’s board meeting, you can click to the 25-minute mark from the Facebook Live feed (above) to hear comments from board members Chip Hood and Melinda Strickland about making a change. Hood tells of recent comments from the governor and how he’s been in text contact with him, basically getting a green light for a “local decision.” Others want to stay with the decision in place for the final weeks of the school year — especially as quarantines are at some of the lowest points since classes began in August. The premise: What we have it working; let’s stay the course until summer.
The mask mandate is the first item addressed in the school system’s COVID safety protocols’ Q & A:
- Will masks/face coverings be required in FCS schools? YES. Mask/face coverings are mandated for students, employees, and business essential visitors while on any FCS campus. The district will provide every FCS student and staff member with a neck gaiter face covering, which will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 when worn correctly.
But even that has some catches. Enforcement at sporting events, including the county’s indoor basketball season, was lax if at all. Pictures posted by the schools and by parents — especially from key rivalry games — showed fans removing masks once inside the doors. They did a bit better with social distancing.
During last week’s meeting, Dr. Glenn White, Floyd’s superintendent, told members he had a scheduled meeting with principals two days later and would talk with them about the mask stance. The audio from the meeting indicates it would come back to the board at the May 5 meeting.
But something from that principals’ meeting resulted in a policy change. We’re told it was basically left to principals to decide what’s best for their schools. We asked for a policy update Friday afternoon and will post that when it arrives.
Below is the latest update from the school system of COVID-related quarantines, from Thursday, April 22:
Now compare it to the closing days of the first semester of the school year. There’s a huge difference in quarantines as the community was in a holiday surge. The only big difference: The school system was still listing new positive cases each day from each school. That went away during this current semester, except for a weekly staff update on Fridays (that latest report is pending). Other school systems continue to report both student and staff cases (click Rome, click Cartersville, click Gordon County).