Franklin County Public Schools will not only require universal masks for all pre-K-12 students regardless of vaccination status, but now documentation will be required for religious and health exemptions.

If a child were to claim an exemption, the parent will need to fill out a form, which is available on the district’s website and in the school offices. They are to be submitted by 4 p.m. Sept. 20 to their principal. The parent will then be notified Sept. 27 if approved. If not approved, the student will be expected to wear a mask beginning Sept. 28.

In the third week of the school year, 848 students had to be quarantined, and 77 tested positive for COVID-19. Week four has shown the highest number of positive cases for students at 126. For the staff, week four also had the highest number of those in quarantine at 13 and positive cases at 17.

Superintendent Dr. Bernice Cobbs mentioned that some students have been quarantined twice already in the early school year, which means they have missed 16 days or more of in-person learning.

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