CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Clayton County Public Schools was among a handful of metro area school districts to start second semester with a mandatory mask policy in place.
The policy required students, staff and parents wear masks on school premises, other district facilities, and on school buses.
However, on Thursday school children were allowed to attend school without a mask for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The district changed course after Governor Brian Kemp signed the "Unmask Georgia Students Act" into law earlier this week.
That decision doesn't sit well with Clayton County parents we spoke with, worried the mask optional policy puts their children's health at risk.
"They don't want to be safe. I want to make sure mine safe," parent Crystal Smith told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes.
On Wednesday, Clayton Schools Superintendent Dr. Morcease Beasley issued a statement announcing the district was doing away with its mandatory mask policy because of the new mandate.
The measure says that "No local school superintendent shall make or enforce any rule … that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other property owned or operated by the local school system …"
Dr. Beasley declined our request for an interview but in a press, release issued Wednesday stated, "We remain very concerned regarding the vaccination rate in Clayton County, which at last report stands at 46% of residents receiving two doses of the vaccine."
Sean Collier's children attend school in Rockdale County. He said parents were notified Wednesday that the school district was also lifting its mask mandate because of the new law, but he has mixed feelings.
"I think it compromises the safety of some of the students, but I do understand being able to have the freedom to make your own decisions," Collier said.