Thomas County Schools begin new school year with masks still optional
THOMAS COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) - Masks remain optional in some South Georgia school districts as Thomas County students returned for their first day of school on Monday.
While Thomas County Schools is going mask optional, Thomasville City Schools started their year with a mask mandate as local COVID cases continue to climb.
Monday saw lots of smiles, and some tears, as parents in Thomas County dropped their students off for the first day of school. Although parents share different views when it comes to masking, they all seem to agree that it’s good to be back in person.
“I’m excited that masks are optional this year,” said Suzanne Colvin, a parent of a TCS student.
Despite growing concerns about new COVID cases in South Georgia, some parents say they believe masks were more harmful than helpful last year.
“They were kind of struggling last year having to keep up with the masks. I felt there were a lot of germs constantly keeping on their face,” Colvin continued.
Other parents are preferring their kids keep the masks on.
“She’s little and the immune system thing, and if it can fight off or not. So, it’s a worry,” parent Crystal Bragg said.
“I had a few family members that had COVID and some are vaccinated, so being that they are vaccinated and still had COVID I thought it was just best,” said Hardrina Clayton. “And then she has asthma and being that she has asthma, I thought it was just safer.”
Last Monday, parents protested outside Thomasville City Schools after the Superintendent Dr. Raymond Bryant Jr. reversed course and made masks mandatory to begin the school year, citing guidelines from local health officials and the CDC.
Dr. Lisa Williams, Thomas County Superintendent, said in a statement sent to parents that the choice to mask will be left up to the parents.
Masks or not, back to school this year comes with the same emotions for students and their parents.
“We’re nervous and excited,” said Clayton.
“It’s good social skills but of course, you know, it’s teary-eyed for the first day,” said Bragg.
“Mommy and me are a little nervous and happy,” said Emery, Colvin’s daughter.
While not mandated in the classroom, Thomas County Schools are requiring students to wear masks on the bus and will provide masks for students, staff and visitors in schools if they would like to wear them.
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