Parents urge Cobb County School District to implement mask mandate this fall

With COVID-19 numbers on the rise in Georgia, Abby Rittberg worries for her son and other Cobb County school children who are returning to campus for in-person instruction this fall. 

"I am very concerned. He is 10, doesn't have the option of getting vaccinated. And I know that there are a lot of teachers and staff, staff and other children that don't wear their masks," said Rittberg.

Last week, Cobb County Schools released its COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-22 school year. There's an emphasis on cleaning. School buses will be disinfected after the morning and afternoon routes. Schools will also get cleaned every day. Students will be socially distanced in the classroom but masks will be optional for all students and staff.

MORE: Mask policies for each school district in metro Atlanta

"This is really scary," Rittberg said. "I hope that they change something before school starts."

Parents who spoke with FOX 5 want district officials to make masks mandatory at all Cobb County schools, and to require students and bus drivers wear face coverings on school buses.

"When you have a student on the bus that could be that could be contagious, you're contacting multiple classes," said parent Mindy Seger. "Multiple grades, multiple schools because they drive in a feeder pattern, and the buses are then fogged for cleaning in between routes, but you've already driven to three schools, by the time you get to that point."

In a written statement, a Cobb County Schools spokesperson stated:

"Recognizing that Cobb families want to be able to choose the learning environment that best supports the needs of their family, all Cobb families were given a choice between face-to-face and virtual classrooms for the upcoming school year." 

Parents eager for their children to return to school, but worried about the virus, say the district's stance puts them in a tough spot.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that students be in school, face to face but they also have masks," said Seger. "That's the way that we're going to keep this from spreading to the best of our ability with the tools that we have. And this is how we're going to keep school going."

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