Sumter County Schools to strongly encourage face masks inside school buildings, not required


SUMTER COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) – After 18 months of virtual learning, class is back in session in-person in Sumter County starting August 9.

Superintendent of Sumter County Schools, Dr. Torrance Choates says it’s time for students to return to the classroom.

“I’ve talked to several parents in the community, and they’ve said Dr. Choates, we’re ready for our babies to go back to school. They’re really excited about bringing their students back to school,” said Choates.

According to school officials, masks are required on school buses and are strongly encouraged while in school buildings. This includes faculty, staff, and students, regardless of the persons’ COVID-19 vaccination status

“I, as the superintendent, have strongly encouraged all of the faculty and staff to get vaccinated, because we know that we’re going to have cases, and it’s not if we have cases, it’s when we have cases coming in of COVID-19,” said Choates.

Sumter County schools has a “Restart Ready – Safety Plan,” that covers the entire district. In addition to the plan, each school in the county has a more specific plan catered to the needs of their respective buildings.

Even with safety precautions in place, Superintendent Dr. Choates understands that some parents are still nervous about students returning to the classroom.

“I have had a few calls already about parents who have apprehensions and I’ve shared with them that there’s a risk taken every day we just don’t know it. That’s one of the reasons why heavy vaccinations has been encouraged because we have an opportunity to really slow this thing down to almost nothing if everyone would get vaccinated,” said Choates.

Virtual learning will not be offered unless it’s under certain circumstances as in-person instruction is strongly encouraged this school year.

However, previously reported by WRBL News 3, virtual learning will be offered for high school students expected to attend Sumter County High School, as the new high school has a delayed opening due to material shortages caused by the pandemic, according to school officials.

Students are set to begin in-instruction at the new high school on September 7th. Teachers are set to arrive on August 30th.

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