Marietta City Schools will no longer require students and staff to wear masks in outdoor settings, effective Wednesday.

Marietta Schools Superintendent Grant Rivera made the announcement in an emailed letter Tuesday afternoon.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have remained committed to following the science and responding to the most current guidelines and recommendations from health and science experts,” he said.

Based on “continued collaboration with health and science experts,” Rivera said, masks and face coverings will no longer be required for Marietta students and staff in outdoor settings, such as recess or outdoor physical education.

The change follows communication from Rivera on April 16, which said students should wear masks when outside and within 3 feet of each other.

Masks will still be required inside school buildings and school buses.

Rivera said his decision was two-part: One, as the weather gets warmer, the masks are increasingly uncomfortable for those who are outside and active. And two, health experts’ data shows that risk of transmission in outdoor settings is low.

“Students and staff who prefer to do so may continue to wear a mask outdoors, and social distancing of at least three feet is still encouraged,” Rivera said in his email. “As for family and community events that occur outside in the closing weeks of the school year, it is recommended, but not required, that our guests wear a mask and appropriately socially distance.”

In terms of expectations for a mask policy in the 2021-22 school year, Rivera said there can’t yet be a decision.

He said the “evolving community transmission data,” means decisions on safety protocols will be made and communicated to families later this summer. That way, the policies will reflect the most recent community transmission data and health recommendations, he said.

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Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.

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