DACULA, Ga. - While Tashena Butlers' children enjoy the last week of summer break, their mom worries their health could be at risk when the Gwinnett County Schools’ students start classes at Harbins Elementary in Dacula this fall, with COVID-19 numbers on the rise, and no mask mandate.
"I think most people are in the same mind-frame that it's best for the kids to be in school but there is that concern, what's going to happen. We know the numbers are going up. Are we doing everything we can or are our schools doing everything they can to make sure that our kids are safe?" Butler said.
Butler's mother lives with her. With the nation in the grips of the pandemic, the Butlers decided it would be safer for their children to learn remotely last year.
"My primary concern, of course, is not necessarily for me because I have been vaccinated," said Butler. "You know everyone in my household has been vaccinated, but my kids are too young to be vaccinated."
Gwinnett County Schools dropped its mask requirement for students and teachers in June following an outcry from parents, who claimed children were sick of wearing the masks in class.
"District leaders continue to monitor for new guidance from health partners, the [Georgia] Department of Public Health, the CDC, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state, using it to inform decision-making about mitigation strategies or changes to mitigation strategies that might be needed for the 2021–22 school year," a Gwinnett County Schools spokesperson told FOX 5.
School district officials said masks are strongly recommended on all campuses and in all Gwinnett County Public Schools' facilities.
Butler has contacted her children's school and district leaders about her concerns. In the meantime, her children will wear masks at school.
"I'm hopeful that when I send them to school in the mask, that if it is not a requirement at the school that the teachers will ensure that they will wear their mask throughout the day," said Butler.
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