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Message from the Superintendent: Updates on RCPS Masking Requirements for Students and Staff, July 2022
Conyers, GA - RCPS to resume mask requirements for staff and students.

After much consideration, consultation, and deliberation, I have determined that our local public health data dictate that we resume our mask requirement for students, staff, and visitors for the 2022-23 School Year. The mask requirement for staff will begin Monday, July 25, 2022. Masks are also required for anyone attending Open Houses. Of course, recent legislation passed by the General Assembly permits parents to opt their children out of a school district’s mask requirement. As we did last school year, we will continue to comply with that legislation accordingly.

This decision to resume our district’s mask requirement is in response to our local public health data that clearly show that the most recent variant of COVID-19 – BA5 – has resulted in a steep rise in infections. This increase is largely attributed to the variant’s demonstrated ability to evade vaccinations and prior infections. The good news is that the vaccines and boosters have largely thwarted severe illness with such breakthrough COVID-19 infections. Also impacting my decision is the invaluable consultative guidance of our local public health partners, including Piedmont Rockdale officials, Gwinnett Newton Rockdale Health Department officials, and longtime local pediatricians. 

In addition to the resumption of our mask requirements, we continue to maintain our other foundational and enhanced mitigation measures such as handwashing and access to hand sanitizer, social distancing as reasonable, robust cleaning protocols, upgraded HVAC ventilation, and continuous access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations made possible by RCPS in partnership with Kids-Doc-On-Wheels, our telehealth partner. As a district, we have maintained a robust inventory of public health mitigation supplies such as masks, hand sanitizers, and wipes. 

As a district, we have also maintained our contact tracing protocols as a means of responsibly tracking COVID-19 infection among our staff and students. We will continue to conduct contact tracing; however, we are modifying our quarantine and isolation protocols to align with the current guidance for schools. Close contacts or those with a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 who are Up to Date with the vaccine and those who have tested positive in the last 90 days will not be required to quarantine but will be required to wear a mask for 10 days. The CDC describes Up to Date as the primary series and all eligible boosters. Close contacts who are unvaccinated and/or not Up to Date will be required to quarantine for 5 days with a return on Day 6 if asymptomatic and be required to wear a mask Day 6-10. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 5 days, with a return on Day 6 if fever free for 24 hours without the use of medicine and other symptoms have improved, with masks required through Day 10.

As we have throughout this public health challenge, RCPS will continue to make responsible decisions based upon our local public health data over time and with the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and school communities as our top priority.