Cobb Co. Board of Well being votes for masks mandates in faculties; superintendent abstains | Information

COBB County, Ga. (CBS46) — The Cobb County Board of Well being needs all public, non-public and constitution faculties within the county with Ok-12 college students to mandate masks.

On Tuesday, the board voted in favor of a decision which adopts Centers for Disease and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, together with necessary mask-wearing, to gradual the unfold of COVID-19. Board member and Cobb County Faculties superintendent Chris Ragsdale abstained.

“There’s a value for having elementary, particularly elementary school-aged youngsters, masks mandated throughout the whole day,” Ragsdale mentioned.

The emergency assembly comes as Cobb County is experiencing a 13 p.c positivity fee in COVID-19 circumstances, properly above the will 5 p.c threshold. Well being officers mentioned the fourth surge is being pushed by the “highly transmissible” delta variant and that school-aged youngsters are among the many most impacted teams.

“It is a crucial stance we’ve to take,” mentioned board member Dr. Paula Greaves. “We have to defend our susceptible.”

Well being officers laid out present information that particulars how the virus is affecting younger individuals in Georgia. As of September 2, there have been 136 outbreaks within the state, most of that are occurring in faculties, in accordance with information offered by Dr. Janet Memark, director of the Cobb and Douglas Public Well being. Final month alone, 4 youngsters died as a consequence of problems from the virus.

Ninety p.c of hospitalizations within the county contain unvaccinated individuals, in accordance with a consultant from Wellstar Well being System.

“This is without doubt one of the most making an attempt problems with our time the place our inaction may very well be leading to grave hurt to our kids,” mentioned Lisa Cupid, board member and chairwoman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners.

The virus in youngsters can be having a ripple impact on emergency companies. Pete Quinones, CEO of Metro Ambulance Service, which workers 700 individuals, mentioned that 50 p.c of callouts are as a consequence of mother and father having sick children.

“That hampers our potential to ship emergency care in all markets that we serve in, not simply in Cobb County however throughout the metro,” Quinones mentioned.

Nonetheless, Ragsdale was steadfast, telling the Board he believes the COVID mitigation protocols already in place in Cobb County Faculties are sufficient.

“What is going on is working in our faculties,” he mentioned. “It’s not that we’re anti-mask or anti-vaccination. We strongly encourage each of these.”

Mother and father within the district who CBS46 spoke with after the assembly had been pissed off by Ragsdale place.

“In the event you don’t take each precaution, there is no such thing as a going again to apologize for the lack of a life,” mentioned Darrell Horton, who has a 3rd and 6th grader within the district. “It’s not ok. We’re speaking about individuals’s children.”

Whereas the decision handed, faculty leaders have the ultimate say on mandating masks of their respective districts. The decision doesn’t apply in Douglas County.

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