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OUR VIEW: Mask or no mask for students? Don’t let social media decide for you

The Troup County School System released its back-to-school guidance last week, deciding that wearing a mask is optional on campuses this year. Masks are still mandatory on school buses, per CDC guidelines.

Many of the COVID-19 protocols are still in place, just with updates for those who are vaccinated.

We encourage parents to do their own research on whether they believe their children should wear a mask this year at school. The facts are pretty straightforward: COVID-19 remains a threat and less a third of Troup County is vaccinated. That number also figures to be extremely low among schoolchildren, especially when you consider no one under 12 can even receive the vaccine yet.

Social media is a bad place to debate this topic, though it happens every day.

Talk to your child’s doctor, do some research on your own (from reputable websites) and monitor the numbers. Things can change quickly, and TCSS has already pledged to adjust its guidance if numbers increase, so be ready for that as well.

We think TCSS probably made the right call when it comes to mask wearing. COVID-19 is much more under control than last year, and the numbers prove it, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. It’s certainly not.

With that in mind — mask or no mask — we encourage you to talk to your children about the importance of washing hands, using hand sanitizer and being aware of how close they are to someone else. Social distancing remains a great way to keep yourself healthy.

No one wants to be dealing with a COVID-19 diagnosis this fall, but we’re sure there will be cases in our school system. Decide what’s best for your children this year and have a conversation with them. Mask or not — the decision is up to parents and students to do what they think is best.