Troup County School System lifts mask mandate for students and teachers

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A student gets help with his mask from transitional kindergarten teacher Annette Cuccarese during the first day of classes at Tustin Ranch Elementary School in Tustin, Calif. Now that California schools have welcomed students back to in-person learning, they face a new challenge: A shortage of teachers and all other staff, the likes of which some districts say they’ve never seen. (Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register via AP, File)

LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – The Troup County School System lifted the mask mandate in all schools on Oct. 18, 2021. Teachers and students are still highly recommended to wear masks, but they are no longer required.

Dr. Brian Shumate, the Superintendent of the Troup County School System, said the school system made the decision to lift the mask mandate after monitoring COVID-19 cases in the area and seeing a decrease in positive cases.

“I felt like at this time the time is right for us to give it a shot to see if we can do just the highly recommended on masks. We’re still going to wear a mask on school buses, we’re still going to do the normal pandemic or COVID protocols as far as cleaning, social distancing, temperature taking,” said Shumate.

Shumate said TCSS currently has over 12,000 students and his main priority is keeping the students, their families and staff safe. He also said if the number of positive cases begin to rise again the mask mandate may be instituted again.

Masks are still mandated on all school buses and schools will continue to enforce social distancing. Each school in the school system also has individual standards set for COVID-19 positive cases. One school may have the mask mandate reinstituted if cases go up while the others continue without a mask mandate.

“If a school gets back to 1% of its overall population of students that are positive we’re going to put the masks back on and require them,” said Shumate.

Shumate said if multiple schools go over the 1% mark he may reinstitute the mask mandate for the entire school system.

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