Masks will be optional for students and teachers in the Floyd County schools system for the 2021-2022 school year.

“If they want a mask, we’ll give them a mask, but there won’t be any mask mandates at the schools,” Superintendent Glenn White said.

The school system lifted their mask mandate in late April after vaccinations caused COVID-19 cases to drop and much of the community had forgone face coverings.

Masks are also optional at Rome City Schools in the upcoming year but will be mandated on buses as students are transported to and from school.

Former Pepperell High School Principal Jamey Alcorn said the last COVID-19 case they had was reported was on April 16 and the students and faculty welcomed the removal of face masks.

After talking with Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health Director Dr. Gary Voccio, the superintendent is still trying to decide on how they will do contact tracing this school year.

White is interested in doing something similar to the Cherokee County School system. He described their process as emailing parents to notify them about a student that tested positive for COVID-19 in their child’s classroom.

However, it would be up to the parent whether their child would quarantine after an exposure.

“I want kids in school and teachers in school,” he said. “If the parent wants to take the child out of school and have them quarantine, that’s their call.”

The school board hasn’t reached a decision yet and board members have said they want to stay in accordance with state law. White said they will continue researching and make a decision before the school year begins.

The school system is also planning on hosting another vaccine clinic in partnership with Floyd Medical Center for eligible students and teachers. With only about 50% of the teachers and faculty vaccinated, White is hoping to see an increase to lessen the risk of virus spread.

“We’re going to send out a survey to see if any of the teachers would be interested,” he said.

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