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How many Columbia County students are following mask rules?

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The decision for Columbia County schools to require masks comes after the district says it has at least 1,000 people at home quarantining, and 296 more students who tested positive Monday and Tuesday alone.

We visited several Columbia County schools Thursday, and heard from one parent who wants to make sure the mandate isn’t an empty gesture.

As students walked into Columbia County schools on Thursday morning, we could see that there were a handful of students not wearing a mask. Parents noticed this, too, and are calling for the district to keep their word and enforce the mask mandate.

At the start of the school day when buses rolled in, we were at three different schools to check out the first day of Columbia County’s mask mandate. Most students wearing masks, but a handful were walking through the doors not wearing one at all.

Megan Cunningham is a single mother working full time who has a kindergartner and a second-grader. She pulled her kids out because her oldest daughter has severe asthma.

“It’s really a frustrating place to be,” said Cunningham. “I’ve had to flex my schedule all over the place, ask for help from friends and family to allow me to keep my kids home and keep my kids safe until they can be vaccinated.”

After students walked through the doors, we aren’t sure if those students are being forced to wear a mask.

We asked the district some questions about the mandate, like do teachers have the ability to force kids to wear a mask if they aren’t wearing one? Are students being given a mask if they don’t have one? And what are the punishments for not wearing a mask at all? We still don’t have the answers to those questions.

“Why even have a mask mandate if you’re not going to enforce it. Is that even a mandate? What are we doing?” said Cunningham.

Parents are feeling left in the dark.

“We’re kind of out in the cold and we have no backup from our community in any way. Not from our mayors, not from our school board. It’s a very very frustrating place to be,” she said.

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