Beasley: We’ll follow law but danger is not past

UPDATE 9:47pm: CHANGES lede photo, ADDS GPB tweet of SB514 signing

by Robin Kemp

Clayton County Public Schools say masks are no longer required on school property as of Thursday, March 31.

The decision comes after Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law against mask mandates Tuesday.

Superintendent Dr. Morcease J. Beasley said, “It is no secret that our leadership has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic with one mission — to protect the well-being of our students and their families as well as our employees and their families. We have used data and guidelines as provided by local, state, and federal officials in making the decisions to accomplish this. Now, by an action of the legislature and by affixing his signature to Senate Bill 514, the Governor has issued his own mandate – that the wearing of masks by students in our schools and on our buses is to be optional and at the discretion of students and parents/guardians. We will adhere to the stipulations of this law.”

However, Beasley added, “Parents/guardians still have the option to send their children to our schools with face coverings if they feel that is the best course of action to protect their health. This goes for our employees as they continue to work daily on our campuses.”

In a press release, CCPS said, “The action comes in reaction to the signing into law the Unmask Georgia Students Act (Senate Bill 514) by Governor Brian Kemp. The measure says that ‘No local school superintendent shall make or enforce any rule … that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other property owned or operated by the local school system.'”

Beasley pointed out that fewer than half of Clayton County residents have been fully vaccinated.

“It is important to note that we remain very concerned regarding the vaccination rate in Clayton County, which at last report stands at 46% of residents receiving two doses of the vaccine,” Beasley said. “While this decision impedes our local control as educators, it is important to note that our stakeholders have a level of power and position to exercise their voices at the polls during this election season.”

Beasley urged all stakeholders to get vaccinated and said that cleaning and sanitizing protocols would continue.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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