Chris Ragsdale and Grant Rivera.PNG

Marietta Superintendent Grant Rivera, left, and Cobb Superintendent Chris Ragsdale

Students, staff and guests will no longer be required to wear masks or face coverings on Cobb or Marietta school property, effective June 7, according to the two district superintendents.

On Tuesday, Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale and Marietta Schools Superintendent Grant Rivera, citing continued improvement in the state of COVID-19 transmission in the community, said face masks will be optional for all district students and staff. Masks will remain optional throughout summer activities and during the 2021-2022 school year, though anyone can continue to wear them, should they wish to.

In his announcement, Rivera said desk partitions that were in place over the past school year will no longer be used next year. He also said students in all grade levels will resume normal use of the lunch serving line and cafeteria; student field trips will resume; family activities like open house and PTA/PTSA events may resume with in-person attendance; volunteers and guests are welcome back in buildings; and parents of pre-K and kindergartners can resume walking their children to their classroom on the first day of school.

In May, the districts made masks optional for any fully vaccinated student or staffer. That standard, similar to that of many businesses, churches and governments, effectively put an honor system in place. The new standards remove the mask requirement for everyone, vaccinated or not.

A group of parents sued the Cobb County School District over its mask mandate during the 2020-21 school year but dropped the lawsuit last week, figuring the mandate was ending soon anyway.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said vaccinated Americans need not wear masks in most cases. As of its most recent guidance for schools, however, the CDC was still recommending that schools “should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing.”

About 39% of Georgians have received at least one vaccine dose, per the CDC. About 31.1% are fully vaccinated.

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Senior reporter Thomas Hartwell contributed to this report.

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