"It is my belief that parents have the tools that they need to best take care of their children. And, you know, that’s why I think we should just let parents decide whether their kids needs to be masked or not," Kemp said.
Kemp issued executive orders condemning mask mandates in school systems in May 2021.
"We haven’t had statewide mask mandates. We haven’t had vaccine mandates from state government here. I have been very firm on that issue, but you know, you’re even seeing Democratic governors that are coming out and getting rid of their mask mandates. It’s time for the schools to do that as well," Kemp said.
He said his office plans to introduce legislation in the coming days.
"I'm still a local control guy. But you know, our cases, if you look at the way our cases are right now, they are beyond on the path downward," Kemp said.
"At this time, we continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission. That’s much of the country right now, in public indoor settings and so of course we’re taking a close look at this as we look at updating and reviewing our guidance," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director.
The president of the Georgia PTA wrote in a statement:
"It is our mission and duty to protect all children, and we honor that pledge by encouraging the adherence to the CDC and public health guidelines of practicing mitigation strategies to safely and successfully address the health, safety, infrastructure and physical, psychological, social and emotional needs of students and educators."
The Georgia Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported a seven-day average of 4,113 positive PCR cases in Georgia, a little more than a quarter of the seven-day average at the peak of the omicron surge. The seven-day average of 87 confirmed deaths was the highest since Oct. 22, 2021.
"I've been very patient, I've been a local control governor, but this has gone on too long," Kemp said.
Kemp is running for a second term in 2022 and faces primary challengers.