FROM SUPERINTENDENT DR. XERNONA J. THOMAS
July 26, 2021
In one week, we will welcome back nearly 12,500 students to our 21 schools. We are excited about what this year will bring, and in preparation, we are communicating some important changes to our COVID-19 protocols.
Effective immediately, all staff, students, and visitors on any Clarke County School District (CCSD) property are required to wear a mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. This is a change from last week when we announced that this requirement was only necessary for staff and students in grades PK-8.
This decision was made with thoughtful consideration around the following factors:
- Athens-Clarke County COVID-19 cases are steadily increasing, and the presence of the highly contagious Delta variant has been confirmed.
- In Clarke County, less than 1 in 5 eligible children have been vaccinated and less than 39% of all Clarke County residents are fully vaccinated.
- Over the weekend, we were made aware of a positive COVID-19 case at our district Leadership Retreat. This is the third staff member who has reported a positive COVID test in the past week. In the interests of public health, safety, and staffing, our goal is to minimize exposures (and quarantines) whenever a positive case is reported to us.
- Based on the latest CDC recommendations, fully vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated individuals who are wearing a mask are not required to quarantine if exposed to COVID.
Our team continues to meet regularly to discuss the safety protocols for all individuals in our school system. Safety is our top priority, and we are determined to keep all schools open for in-person instruction. Requiring masks for everyone exponentially increases our ability to safely remain open for in-person learning, which is a top priority for the 2021-22 school year.
For additional information and data regarding Covid-19 cases, please visit the Clarke County School District's COVID Dashboard.