Gov. Kemp’s order on school masks falls short of mandate ban – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2021-05-30 08:00:28 –

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp will speak at a press conference at the Atlanta State Capitol on Saturday, April 3, 2021. (AP Photo / Brin Anderson)

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared on Friday that public schools no longer have permission to request masks to protect the coronavirus, but his executive order would ban such obligations altogether. Did not reach.

The Republican Governor’s written order came two days after Kemp previewed in a Wednesday interview on Fox News Channel, proclaiming “the mission time is over.”

“We are not going to require children to wear masks,” Kemp said. “Our teachers were able to get vaccinated. Of course, it does not prevent them from wearing masks.”

The actual orders to adjust the limits of the few remaining coronaviruses in Georgia are not so strongly expressed in words.

Instead, Kemp’s order states that his COVID-19 state of emergency states that the local school district is in a public health emergency as a basis for requiring students or workers to wear face covers on school campuses. It does not include the permissions it depends on. “

In other words, Georgia school districts can no longer claim that the governor has the authority to request masks.

The number of Georgia districts that require employees and students to wear masks is unknown. Many school districts in the Atlanta metropolitan area have implemented this requirement, but many suburban school districts and rural areas have strongly recommended masks only. In many districts, including Cobb and Fulton counties, mask requirements have been relaxed in recent weeks.

Anthony Michael Kreis, a professor of constitutional theory at Georgia State University, said the school board could probably require teachers and students to wear masks without the permission of the governor.

“He doesn’t have the broad and unilateral powers of the Georgian Constitution to deprive the local school board,” Kreis said. “What he was here was basically himself. I think he excluded this from the metric and pushed it back to the local school board as a political issue, saying, “I don’t want you to do this and I can’t justify it.” “

Jason Estebs, Atlanta’s Board of Education Chairman and State Democratic Treasurer, said his school district would continue to demand masks when 11,000 students return to summer courses next week.

He said the wording of Kemp’s orders underscores the limits of his power over the local school system.

“We actually modified the dress code and requested a mask,” Esteves said. “And without considering what the governor and political winds told us to do at the time. Did it. “

Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said a state of emergency issued by the governor in advance during the pandemic explicitly empowered the school system to request masks. Kemp’s new The order revokes its authority at the end of May.

Hall declined to comment on whether the state would try to stop the school system that wanted to keep masks mandatory. Many have already finished classes for summer vacation.

If the school board chose to continue the mask obligation, Mr. Hall said, “It will definitely be heard by the general public, staff, parents and students.”

Mandatory masks are unpopular among some parents. Lead to angry scenes scenes at school board Even a proceeding. Opposing them are mostly white and Republicans.

Children under the age of 12 are not eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. This means that students under 5th grade are usually not vaccinated. The progress of vaccination so far has not progressed slowly among qualified students over the age of 12.

Although Georgia has received 7.4 million COVID-19 vaccines overall, it remains one of the 10 lowest vaccinated states in the United States. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Georgia’s daily coronavirus infection averaged 397 people over the seven days to Friday, the lowest level since late March 2020.

Kemp is running for re-election in 2022, strengthening support from Republican voters who are still opposed to claims that Kemp did not act enough to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia We are taking steps to do so. In the last 10 days, he has also issued the following orders to public authorities in Georgia: You cannot require people to prove that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 Then send a letter to the State Board of Education, urging members to: Prohibit specific racial teachings in public schools..

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