With 1,000 isolated, Columbia County schools require masks

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 11:12 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Columbia County superintendent announced students will be required to wear masks in the classroom starting this Thursday.

Until now, there was only a mask requirement on buses in Columbia County. But now it will be across the board.

Dr. Steven Flynt says almost 300 additional students have tested positive so far this week and more than 1,000 students are in quarantine. He says the district is making this decision because they want to keep Columbia County students in school five days a week.

“It’s very difficult to not be angry,” said Robert Green, a Columbia County parent.

Green has a 10-year-old daughter at Lewiston Elementary. She tested positive for COVID on Friday. The virus has spread through his house to his 2-year-old. And he’s furious his kids are sick.

“These are our kids, and while this may not be super lethal to children, there’s always that possibility, and it’s sure as hell a possibility I’m not willing to take,” he said.

Green is one of hundreds of Columbia County parents with a sick kid right now. The school district reported more than 400 cases last week and in just two days this week, almost 300 more students tested positive.

“We have had a number of students sent into school sick, and with symptoms, and that’s unacceptable,” said Flynt.

The district’s superintendent says more than 1,000 students are quarantining. By mandating masks he hopes to bring down those numbers.

“We’ll no longer have to quarantine the in school exposures, because both students are gonna be wearing a mask,” he said.

But not all parents agree.

“I refuse to cover my child’s face,” said Lisa Alvarez, a Columbia County parent. “If you were to have children, would you want someone to tell your child how to do things? I don’t think so.”

Alvarez thinks it should be up to the parents. Her son goes to Evans High School and come Thursday she says, “I am not gonna allow him to wear a mask to school.”

On Thursday, everyone will be required to wear a mask in all Columbia County School District buildings unless you have a documented medical or religious reason.

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