Parents and educators react to the new CDC mask recommendation

Parents, students, and staff are unsure what the start of the school year will look like, due to the constant changes in mask guidelines. 

The majority of school districts in the area made masks optional for the upcoming school year. 

However, the CDC's newest guideline recommends everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask. 

MORE: Mask policies for each school district in metro Atlanta

Gwinnett County Schools announced shortly after the CDC announcement it will be reversing the optional mask policy. 

Fulton County Schools said it is looking into the recommendation and will inform students, staff, and parents of any changes. 

Cobb County Schools said it gave families to choose in-person or virtual learning, but did not specify whether or not any changes to the mask policy will be considered. 

The CDC's recommendation is just the latest in the back and forth parents, students, and staff have dealt with over the last year and a half. 

"I know they say they're following the science, but the science is constantly changing," said Glenda Brown. 

Brown has two grandchildren in Gwinnett County schools. 

"They get used to one thing and now they don't want to have to wear a mask because they've been out of school all summer and at that point, I told them both it was supposed to be optional," she said. 

While the changes have undoubtedly created stress, some like Leigh Stewart, say it's worth it if it keeps the students and staff safe. 

She has two children in Cobb County schools.

"I really hope that they say 'hey, let's follow the lead of those around us and the CDC. Let's start with masks and then we'll let you know at the end of the week,'"  Stewart said. 

She noted Cobb County was quick to follow the CDC's guideline several months ago when the agency said those who are fully vaccinated don't have to wear masks. 

"Let us know that they are continuing to take all the information and recommendations into account and not just cherry-pick, so to speak, the ones that they like," Stewart said. 

Meanwhile, educators are just as unsure what the school year will look like. 

The President of the Georgia Federation of Teachers said she hopes the CDC and other health officials will be able to provide more clear, consistent guidelines for districts to follow. 

"We would like to see the CDC come up with a comprehensive plan and stick to it and then tell the public why they're changing it because we are beginning to confuse the public," said Verdaillia Turner.

She believes schools are not as prepared as they could be for what could be another bumpy year. 

Turner added she would like school districts and health officials to specify what kinds of masks are acceptable and have plans for who and how the mask policy will be enforced. 

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