EAST COBB, GA — Marietta’s schools became the first in metro Atlanta Thursday to mandate that its students wear masks for the coming year.
In an email sent to students’ families Thursday night, superintendent Grant Rivera said face coverings would be required for all students from pre-K to 12th grade, according to The Marietta Daily Journal. Masks also would be required for staff and visitors, both in buildings and in buses.
Students were encouraged to bring their own washable masks, but disposable masks would be provided for students who didn’t have one.
“I acknowledge the decision to wear a face covering is very personal,” Rivera wrote in the email. “I also acknowledge, as we prioritize the safety of students and staff, that we are committed to being on the safe side of medical research and on the progressive side of student and staff safety.”
The Marietta mandate comes as other area school systems grapple with the same problem. In Gwinnett County schools, where masks will be encouraged but still optional, WXIA-TV reported that David Raney and DeAnna Spurlin had created an online petition for mandatory masks. As of Monday afternoon., the change.org petition had 576 signatures. Other area school systems are still hammering out plans for the new school year, with none yet requiring masks.
Clarke County’s school system in nearby Athens will mandate masks this fall, according to The Athens Banner-Herald. That will make it the only system anywhere near Atlanta so far to require face coverings to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
This article originally appeared on the East Cobb Patch