Georgia Senate passes bill to ‘unmask Georgia students’

Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 8:40 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Georgia parents began speaking out - some in support, others in opposition - as more school districts began rolling back their school mask mandates Tuesday following guidance from the CDC.

In the State Senate, Republicans passed the “Unmask Georgia Students Act,” sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon on behalf of Gov. Brian Kemp. The bill passed along party lines. It would block schools from completely requiring face masks without letting parents choose if they want to opt their children out of it.

“The fact still remains that there’s about 44 school districts that still have mask mandates in place so it has not been lifted statewide,” said Sen. Dixon. “Local school districts can still implement mask mandates, this just allows parents to opt their children out if they choose to do so. I ask my colleagues for favorable consideration,” Dixon said introducing the bill on the Senate floor.

Opponents warn the decision could lead to more illnesses and death.

“We need to continue because it has not stopped. It slowed down,” said Sen. Donzella James. “You don’t know when it’s coming back up. You as adults can take precautions, but why would we take options away from our children?”

Some Democrats argue the pandemic is not over and is not predictable for years to come.

“Can you tell me when the next global pandemic will be?” questioned Sen. Kim Jackson. “I don’t have a crystal ball,” Dixon replied.

DeKalb County Schools, one of the longest standing districts to have a mandate, announced plans to make masks optional Tuesday.

Dixon’s bill has a sunset clause - an expiration date of June 30, 2027. If the pandemic worsens, he says the governor can suspend the law through an executive order.

The bill will head to the House later in the week.

WATCH LIVE: Governor Kemp signs the Unmask Georgia Students Act:

WATCH LIVE: Governor Kemp signs Unmask Georgia Students Act

WATCH LIVE: Governor Kemp signs Unmask Georgia Students Act

Posted by CBS46 on Tuesday, March 29, 2022