NCSS Temporary Mask Mandate

NCSS Announces Temporary Mask Mandate
Posted on 08/06/2021
Face Mask UpdateCiting a significant spike in student COVID-19 cases, Newton County School System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey announced Friday afternoon that the district would implement a temporary mask mandate effective Monday, August 9, 2021. All students and staff will be required to wear masks in school buildings and on school buses.

“This decision was not taken lightly,” said Fuhrey. “In only five days of school, we’ve had over 80 confirmed positive cases of student infection and over 200 students have been sent home to quarantine. We tried the mask-optional status but now must revert to requiring mask usage due to the considerable spike in cases.”

According to Fuhrey, these numbers represent a significant increase over COVID numbers from the previous school year. In reviewing weekly data reports from the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year, on average, student cases were less than 20—and often under 10 per week. Information received from the GNR Health Department just today also confirmed the increased infection rate among children in Newton County.

“Our primary concern is the health and safety of our students and staff,” said Fuhrey. “As such, we must move forward with a temporary mask mandate until such time that the number positive cases decrease in our schools and community. Newton County is currently identified as having a high rate of transmission of COVID-19 and those numbers are trending upward. Unfortunately, we’ve also been informed that less than 33 percent of the total population of Newton County has been vaccinated which contributes to the spread of the virus in our community. On behalf of our students and staff, I encourage everyone in Newton County, if you are eligible, please get the vaccination. We must do everything we can if we are going to keep our schools open without interruption throughout the school year.”

In addition to getting vaccinated, Fuhrey stressed the importance of proper wear and care of masks.

“The CDC has data to reflect that masks work if they are worn and cared for properly,” Fuhrey said. “All masks need to be worn properly to cover the nose and mouth and cloth masks should also be laundered regularly.”

She also stressed the importance of frequent handwashing and social distancing when among people outside of your immediate family.

“I know everyone has tired of me stressing the Three W’s but it’s so important,” she said. “Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, and watch your distance. These are three simple, yet very effective strategies to help prevent the spread of this virus.”

According to Fuhrey, during the temporary mask mandate, schools will have masks available for students and staff who do not have access to one.

“I know this will not be a popular decision among many of our families, but it is the best course of action to protect our students and staff,” said Fuhrey. “No one likes wearing a mask. I understand that. But 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 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.”