Masks Required When Schools Reopen

Masks Required When Schools Reopen in January 2022
Posted on 12/29/2021
Face Masks RequiredMasks will be required for all students, staff, and visitors when schools reopen for the second semester next week. Teachers will report for a scheduled workday on Monday, January 3 with students scheduled to return on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

“Newton County has seen a significant spike in COVID-19 cases during the holiday break and we must implement another temporary mask mandate,” said Newton County School Superintendent, Samantha Fuhrey. “We have kept in contact with the medical professionals at both Piedmont Newton Hospital and the Gwinnett Newton Rockdale (GNR) Health Department throughout the holidays.”

She added, “As a result of the increased cases and conversations with the medical professionals we will move forward with the temporary mask mandate until such time that the number of positive cases decrease in our community. It is important that everyone in our community do their part to help reduce the spread of this virus. It’s critical that all members of our community wear a mask, wash their hands often, and watch their distance when out in public or around those not in their immediate family. In addition, if you or your child are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccination or booster, please do so. We must do everything we can if we are going to keep our schools open throughout the remainder of the school year.”

Fuhrey noted that children ages 5 years and older are eligible to receive vaccinations for COVID-19. Interested parents may find a vaccine site by visiting the website:

According to the superintendent, Newton County Schools will continue its COVID-19 mitigation protocols to include social distancing as practical, disinfecting of classrooms and school buses, encouraging frequent handwashing, providing hand sanitizer, and offering bottle refilling stations, in addition to the wearing of masks.

The district also offers weekly COVID-19 testing for students and staff and Fuhrey said it is not too late to sign up.

“Parents and school system staff need only contact the school nurse to sign up for testing,” said Fuhrey. “It’s also important to remember, that students who are experiencing symptoms such as a cough, congestion, sore throat, fever, headache, nausea and increased fatigue, etc., should stay home and parents should notify the school. Keeping students who are not feeling well at home will help us keep our schools open.”

“We are going to do everything we can to keep students and staff safe and keep our doors open for in-person instruction,” she added. “I just want parents to be forewarned that as numbers increase, we may need to close individual classrooms or entire school buildings, so please have a plan in place for your household.”

As you are likely already aware, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new isolation and quarantine guidelines, which can be found at The school system plans to update its guidelines to mirror the CDC. Newton County Schools will continue to provide updates and weekly COVID-19 data to parents via School Messenger email, so we encourage parents to make sure their contact information is up to date in their student’s Infinite Campus portal.

“As I stated the last time we implemented a temporary mask mandate, I know this will not be a popular decision among many of our families, but it is the best course of action at this time,” said Fuhrey. If parents and the community want our children to be able to attend school in-person, we must do this—at least for now. It is my sincere hope that we can move back to the mask-optional status once the numbers trend downward, and we see a reduction in the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in our community.”