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DeKalb County Schools reverses mask mandate policy for students, staff

All students and staff will now be required to wear masks when they return to the classroom.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Just days after DeKalb County Schools announced that it wouldn't require masks, the district has changed its mind.

In just a few weeks, DeKalb County students and staff will be required to wear masks when they return to the classroom, regardless of their vaccination status. 

The district's decision has left many parents and students confused, as they prepare to send their kids back to school.

“See they’re flipping back and forth, and that’s just going to create mask confusion for all of the parents. And the school year is coming just like that," one parent told 11Alive.

Another parent shared that she trusted the districts' decision, “We’re all trying to make the best decision we can in an unprecedented scenario.”

DeKalb County's mask mandate reversal follows the CDC's released guidance stating that vaccinated people can forgo a face covering while in school buildings. 

However, the district cites an increase in cases and the spread of the Delta variant for their decision, adding that they're requiring the masks out of an 'abundance of caution'.

According to the school district's updated policy, students in all grades and staff will be required to wear coverings on school buses and in the classroom. 

The district said that it will use best practices in areas where mask removal is necessary. The policy also stated that masks will be required for extracurricular activities that are indoors. 

Student athletes will also be required to wear masks in locker rooms and weight rooms, but it will not be mandatory during athletic events.

According to the Georgia Department of Health, DeKalb County has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state and the number of new cases in the county is relatively low.

The district said they have plans to reevaluate a mask optional policy in the future.