Students and staff heading to schools in Sandy Springs haven’t had to wear masks at school since Oct. 27 – but don’t put those masks away, because the federal government still requires everyone to wear them on school buses and all other public transportation.

The latest COVID report showed all schools in the district had less than one percent of the staff and students testing positive for COVID-19. That met criteria set by Superintendent Mike Looney to allow masks as optional in all Fulton schools, FCS spokesperson Brian Noyes said.

Students at North Springs Charter High School at 7447 Roswell Road and all other Fulton County schools are now mask optional. (Fulton County Schools)

Sandy Springs students got a jump on going maskless on Oct. 27 since the municipality had fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 residents for two consecutive reports. FCS allowed masks to be optional in Alpharetta and Johns Creek schools also at that time.

Noyes said if an individual school reported one percent or more of its staff and students testing positive, masks would be required again and students might be required to eat lunch in classrooms.

The FDA made an emergency approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on Oct. 29. 

In 30 days, another of Looney’s mitigation matrix criteria will kick in. Thirty days after the expansion of vaccine eligibility for children five and older, masks will become optional for students, staff and visitors. 

The school district will continue to practice physical distancing and frequent hand washing to keep the spread of infection down.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.