The Georgia Departrment of Education released an updated version of its reopening guidance for schools.
The updates were requested by the Georgia Department of Public Health to better align with its return to school guidance. They're aimed at equipping local districts and schools to mount a targeted response based on confirmed COVID-19 cases or exposures within a school community.
Director of Communications Meghan Frick emphasized that the updates should not necessitate changes in already-developed district-level plans.
"Districts continue to have the flexibility to implement prevention strategies above and beyond the recommendations laid out in this guidance and adopt instructional models that best serve their students, teachers, and community," she said.
Clarification on the use of masks is included. Face coverings are not state-mandated but are strongly recommended -- particularly in settings where social distancing is difficult to accomplish such as class transitions, drop-offs and pickups.
The new guidance also adds a DPH requirement for districts to keep a daily log of teachers, staff, and students who did not attend school due to COVID-19-related illness or were sent home due to symptoms. This is meant to assist in contact-tracing efforts.