Back to School this week for local public schools in Walton and Gwinnett – and some require masks, some don’t

Students at Walton County and Gwinnett County schools systems return to classrooms for the 2021-2022 school year this week and some will be required to wear masks, and some won’t. Walton County School District students return tomorrow, Aug. 3, and they will not be required to wear masks.

“At this time, masks will continue to be optional for students and staff. WCSD will provide disposable masks upon request in schools and on buses,” said Callen Moore, public relations officer for WCSD.

Gwinnett County School District students begin a staggered return to school campuses on Aug. 4 and 5 with all students back in class on Aug. 9 – and they are required to wear masks. GCSD released a statement on the mask requirement last week following the updated guidance on July 27, 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Gwinnett County Public Schools has updated its back-to-school plans to require masks. As of July 28, 2021, masks will be required for students, staff, and visitors to all Gwinnett County Public Schools’ facilities and on school buses, regardless of vaccination status. This decision takes into account current conditions, the rise in COVID-19 case rates in Gwinnett County, and the ineligibility of children age 12 and younger for the vaccine.In light of the latest CDC guidance and the district’s decision to require masks, GCPS will allow families to make a change in their child(ren)’s instructional preference (either in-person or digital) through Monday, August 2. Families should contact their local school should they wish to make a change.Learn more here: the COVID-19 Information Center for vaccine resources.Get Vaccine Info.”

Students from Walton County Schools had until noon last Friday to opt for digital learning for students grades sixth through 12th grade.

“Digital learning for the 2021-22 school year is available to students in grades 6-12 who qualify. All courses will be administered free of charge through Georgia Virtual School (GaVS). Due to the challenging nature of Georgia Virtual coursework and the tuition cost, WCSD set strict academic eligibility requirements to promote student success in online courses,” Moore said. “Taking into account the academic and social-emotional needs of our students and the extremely low number of requests, WCSD will not offer local distance learning options for students in grades pre-k through 5. This decision is in line with all other Northeast Georgia school districts as no school district in the region is offering local digital learning opportunities for elementary students.”

Private Schools in Walton County don’t return to the classroom until next week. At this time, Monroe County Day School is not mandating masks. Students return to classrooms at MCDS on Aug. 11.

“At this time, MCDS will not have a mask requirement. However, masks are welcomed and encouraged for those who are not fully vaccinated and/or feel more comfortable by wearing one,” Sarah Johnson with MCDS said.

Loganville Christian Academy students return on Aug. 11 and at this time they have not announced any changes to last year’s requirements. Masks were not mandated at that time. George Walton Academy students return on Aug. 18 and no change has yet been announced for the upcoming school year. Last year, masks were voluntary except on buses.

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