Starting on Monday, Camden County schools will require students, staff and visitors to wear face masks on campus.
The school district announced on its Facebook page Thursday that it was instituting the mask policy, which takes effect nearly two weeks after students returned to school for in-person classes.
In the announcement, the district cited Camden County’s designation as a “hot spot” based on a growing number of positive tests for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The district said it reached its decision after consulting with the Georgia Department of Health, Camden Emergency Management Agency and Southeast Georgia Health System-Camden.
“The Georgia Department of Education, Camden County Schools Board of Education and Camden County Schools System Steering Committee are all in agreement with this new protocol as a necessary means to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” the announcement stated.
Under the new policy, masks will be required of everyone while they’re on campus or riding on school buses. There are exceptions to the rule for those with documented medical needs and disabilities.
Staff are allowed to remove their masks when students are not around and they can maintain a safe social distance with other adults. Students and staff can also take off their masks while eating, drinking or other unspecified activities approved by their principals.
As News4Jax previously reported, some students at St. Marys Elementary were wearing masks when school resumed last Tuesday while others were not. Some parents and grandparents shared concerns about the lack of spacing in schools. Some parents said masks should be required in all schools there.
“From the first day of school, many of our families have already chosen to have their children wear masks to school and we appreciate their partnership in working to keep our staff and students safe,” the district said Thursday. “We ask parents to provide reusable masks for their students, but we will be able to provide masks for students who are unable to provide one on their own.”