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Richmond County schools keep masks optional, approve staggered start dates

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 11:25 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Today the Richmond County Board of Education met just a day after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended all school-aged students wear a mask.

The school system is aware of that recommendation. They’re working with the Georgia Department of Public Health to decide if mask mandates should come back.

“We could require masks for K-5,” said Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, Richmond County School System superintendent.

Bradshaw says the district has been tracking COVID numbers. With cases rising and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation for universal masking, masks might be required for elementary schoolers.

“We have a meeting scheduled with our local department of public health, and as soon as we meet with them, we’ll give you our final decision about our K-5 plan,” said Dr. Bradshaw.

Bradshaw says the district will keep watching virus trends and is prepared to be flexible. A big calendar change also announced for parents, the school board approved a staggered start for students.

“We just want the process to go smoothly, so Dr. Bradshaw just don’t wanna throw everything out there at one time,” said Charlie Hannah, Richmond County Board of Education president.

Kids in traditional elementary schools will still start on Aug. 5. Everyone else starts on the Aug. 9.

“It’s just very important to phase in the process, because it’s been more than 18 months since we’ve had our entire school system populated,” said Hannah.

As of now, masks are still optional in Richmond County schools, but again that could change depending on what the Department of Public Health recommends.

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