APS Mask Policy
Mask Optional Protocol
Message sent Friday, February 25
Dear APS Families, Students, and Staff,
We have an important announcement this Friday: beginning Tuesday, March 1, APS will be updating some of our COVID-19 mitigation strategies, including:
- Moving to a mask-optional protocol in all of our buildings for all faculty, staff, students and visitors;
- Removing the mandatory testing requirement for students participating in athletics and extracurricular activities; and
- Shifting mandatory testing for employees from twice-weekly to once per week.
We wanted to share this information with you as soon as the new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were announced, which is why we are sending a rare Friday message.
This decision is based on the CDC's new recommendations and a combination of other factors, including:
- A significant decrease in COVID-19 community transmission for both Dekalb and Fulton counties, which is expected to continue trending downward;
- A decrease in positive COVID-19 cases among APS students and staff;
- The final installation of air purifiers in all APS classrooms effective next week 2/28/2022;
- Continued COVID-19 Surveillance Testing as an effective mitigation strategy, with roll-out of the APS Test to Stay Program, mandatory twice-weekly testing for staff and for students participating in athletics and extracurricular activities, and optional twice-weekly testing for every student; and
- Ongoing vaccination events in partnership with the Fulton County Board of Health, C.O.R.E., and Viral Solutions.
APS recognizes that some students and staff may prefer to continue wearing a mask while indoors, and we support this decision. As we transition to the mask-optional policy, we encourage members of our community to please respect everyone's right to mask or not to mask as they see fit. We will continue to have masks available for students and staff who may need them.
Please note there are some instances where masks will still be required (and APS will update these guidelines as regulations change):
- The bus mask requirement was updated with the following message on 2/28/2022. Because the CDC issued additional guidance eliminating the federal mask requirement for school buses effective immediately, when Atlanta Public Schools shifts to a mask-optional environment beginning tomorrow, the district will also extend the mask optional protocol to all school buses and transportation. Visit atlantapublicschools.us and click on the "Let's Talk / Contact Us" button if you have any questions or concerns, and thank you.
- Per Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) recommendations, students and staff who end isolation after 5 days will still be required to wear a mask for the remainder of the 10 days after they develop symptoms (or have tested positive but show no symptoms). And regardless of vaccination status, students and staff who are exposed to a positive COVID-19 case should continue to wear a mask for the full 10 days after exposure.
APS will continue to monitor COVID-19 in our community and schools and will consider COVID data and guidance from the CDC and DPH in making future decisions regarding masking and additional mitigation strategies. For now, we will continue-
- Isolating individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19;
- Contact tracing and quarantining exposed individuals who are not up-to-date on vaccines or are not participating in our Test to Stay option;
- Providing optional surveillance testing for students;
- Facilitating mandatory weekly testing for all staff;
- Encouraging physical distancing when possible; and
- Encouraging staff and students to stay home when sick.
As we make this transition, we want to thank each of you for your grace, patience and resilience. You have helped our students, staff, and community stay protected by following the plan of action, even when it was hard or inconvenient. And you have remained flexible when the plan has been adapted in response to emerging situations and new information. Thank you! And please let us know if you have any questions.
Original Mask Policy
Please click HERE to read more about the mask policy for this school year.