Kemp Expected to Prohibit Mask Mandates in Public Schools in Executive Order

As discussion continues of how this week’s executive order by Governor Kemp banning vaccine passports will trickle down to the local board of education, Kemp has indicated he will sign an executive order prohibiting mask mandates in public schools.

On Tuesday, Kemp signed an Executive Order prohibiting COVID-19 vaccination passports in state government and within state agencies. The order does not apply to any private or religious establishment in the state and does not explicitly address Georgia’s public schools, however, local boards of education are a political subdivision of the state of Georgia. In fact, under Georgia’s constitution, school board members are accountable to the Governor.

But the order drew opposition from critics who said public schools as well as colleges and universities are currently permitted to require proof of vaccination status for meningitis, pertussis, and other diseases. Critics took aim at Kemp’s statement issued with the order in which he said “vaccination is a personal decision between each citizen and a medical professional – not state government.”

As speculation mounted over whether or not Tuesday’s order should be challenged by local boards of education, Kemp doubled down on national television and signaled he will also take action on mask rules in the 2021-22 school year.

Kemp appeared on Fox News Wednesday saying “I think the time for mandates is over. Our numbers have plummeted.” He said another executive order is on the way.

He continued saying that there won’t be anything prohibiting a student or teacher from wearing a mask. “We’re not going to have a mask mandate for our kids. Our teachers have had the ability to get vaccinated. It certainly doesn’t keep anyone from wearing a mask,” he said.

Last fall, Kemp stopped short of mandating masks for public schools across Georgia, which allowed local boards of education to mandate masks for in-person learning on a district by district basis. A number of districts did order mandates while others left masks as an option but there has not bee much data on the actual percentages of districts that did and did not mandate masks.

In Cobb County, however, a group of parents are suing the district and asking a judge to stop the rule that requires students to wear a mask. They claim the district is violating their kids’ constitutional rights by forcing them to wear masks.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

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  1. Please consider reporting on the fact that local school boards receive the bulk of our state’s tax dollars yet there are no real consequences when they go rogue. Larger and dysfunctional school districts are a drain on the taxpayers of Georgia.

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