Parents in Georgia School District Want Face Mask Mandate Restored

Photo: (Photo : INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Parents at the Clarke County School District (CCSD) in Georgia are asking the local government to impose a face mask mandate after learning kids going on summer school will no longer have to wear the protective gear.

In a petition on Change.Org, more than a hundred parents supported the call to let the children continue to wear a face mask at the summer enrichment programs. The mothers and fathers also said that the face mask mandate must be carried over during the 2021-2022 school year.

The parents also pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not changed its stand on wearing a face mask for children under 12 years old since they have yet to be vaccinated from the coronavirus. They also urged the school district to do more for the children eligible for vaccine shots since the vaccine rate for kids above 12 years to 18 years old in their community is at 37.1 percent as of June 2021.

In-Person Classes to Start in August

Clarke County School District will return to in-person classes in the first week of August, and virtual classrooms will no longer apply for elementary and middle school students. After-school activities will also resume despite the low vaccination rates in the county.

Read AlsoPfizer Kids Vaccine Against COVID-19 for Below 12 Could be Ready for Approval by Fall

One mother shared her worries about the emergence of the more dominant Delta variant in the U.S., emphasizing how "urgent and necessary" it is for unvaccinated kids to wear a face mask.

The mother also said that the school district has not yet clearly stated nor communicated its plans for the upcoming school season about the COVID-19 safety protocols in schools.

However, in a statement, CCSD said that they are still waiting for the updated guidelines from the CDC before releasing specific face mask guidelines.

"We will announce a decision regarding mask requirements as soon as possible," the CCSD stated. "Social distancing, hand washing, and other recommended mitigation measures will continue to be in place during the school day."

The school is also asking parents and guardians not to let their children come to school if they are sick or if someone in their household has had a COVID-19 positive result.

Face Mask Shouldn't Be Forced

However, a study published in the journal JAMA Network does not recommend a face mask mandate for children between the ages of 6 to 17 years old. The experts from Poland, Germany, and Austria saw evidence of concerning carbon dioxide levels in the masks of the children who participated in the study. The traces of carbon dioxide appeared within three minutes of wearing the mask.

The experts said that the younger children presented the highest values of carbon dioxide levels. On average, children wear face masks for 4.5 hours a day if they are in school.

In a larger study involving 25,000 children in Germany, the parents said that their kids complained of headaches, irritability, and difficulty concentrating with a face mask on. The experts said that most of these complaints are "consequences of elevated carbon dioxide levels."

Related ArticleThe Delta Variant of COVID-19: What Parents Should Do To Protect Their Kids 

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