Fulton County students return to class with masks mandatory in some schools

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — It’s back to school Monday for nearly 95,000 students in Fulton County.

Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach was in Fulton County Monday, where students at schools that are in areas of high transmission of COVID-19 will be required to wear masks.

The district started the summer with masks optional, but now, as the Delta variant surges, every school in the southern half of the county must wear masks in school.

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The decision on whether masks are required is based on how many cases there are per 100,000 people. As of Monday, 13 of 14 cities and municipalities in Fulton County hit that mark.

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Lake Winward Elementary School sits just inside Alpharetta city limits and does require masks. Kids arriving at school for the first day told Gehlbach they are used to masking up.

“I mean, last year I did it, so pretty sure it’s going to be easy,” 5th grader Issac Mendez said.

Johns Creek is the only city in the district where masks are still optional.

“She is unvaccinated right now, so for her, we would prefer the masks,” one mother said. “They’re used to the masks, so think that’s a good precaution to have.”

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A large crowd of parents gathered over the weekend outside of Milton High School to protest masking of students.

“Our personal comforts cannot be more important…our children are at stake,” a speaker said.”

Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney said he hears their concerns and said the district is working on an alternative for those opposed to masking their kids.

“It will be to provide more options for parents that are unhappy with options they currently have,” Looney said.

He said to expect an announcement by this Thursday.

“We know as more people get vaccinated and as we all work together to mitigate the spread, then we can return to school without masking,” Looney said.

Fulton County is also monitoring the numbers for each community in the district.