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Savannah-Chatham school leaders, teachers react to new CDC mask guidance

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Under new guidance, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says teachers and students who are fully vaccinated no longer must wear a mask inside school buildings.

In a little more than three weeks, Savannah-Chatham schools will be back to full in-person learning, but they are also coming back to some new guidance from the CDC.

“Is it confusing? It can be. Is it chaotic sometimes? It can be. But if we look at it as an opportunity to do all that we can to make our sites as safe as we can then it just becomes another thing that we need to do to take care of our students and our staff,” SCCPSS Lead Nurse Lisa Wilson said.

While Savannah-Chatham students in the district’s summer learning program have to wear masks now, when they return to in-person learning five days a week in August, masks will be optional. This is the case regardless of staff or student and vaccine status.

Teachers say their decision will depend.

“I am fully vaccinated so I don’t have a problem with taking my mask of with the kids,” New Hampstead Academic Coach Karen Kight said.

“I really think I would wear it when I was walking around and talking to the kids, but if I was at the front of the class, you know doing something on the board to demonstrate I probably wouldn’t because I’d want to make sure they could hear me,” a Savannah-Chatham teacher who chose to remain anonymous said.

School leaders say they will continue a number of their other mitigation strategies like sanitizing and more.

“We will continue contact tracing. We will continue to track our numbers throughout the district, we will continue with screenings for our visitors. We are asking our staff members as we move into the school year to self-monitor and at this point in time there has not been a definitive statement made as to whether or not students will be screened,” Wilson said.

Teachers say they are excited to get back to the classroom this year and interact with their students once again.

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