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Bartlett City Schools not requiring face masks for upcoming school year amid rising Covid cases among children

SCHD reports that nearly 1 in 4 cases are among those 17 and younger.

BARTLETT, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department reports nearly 1 in 4 active Covid-19 cases in the county are people 17 years old and younger. 

Children under 12 years old can't get vaccinated yet, so what are Mid-South schools planning to do this year?

The CDC is recommending any child who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask throughout the school day. 

Bartlett City Schools followed CDC guidelines all last year, but this upcoming school year masks won't be required for its students. The school district hasn't responded to requests for an explanation. 

Parent Michael Cervetti said it's too soon for those who aren't protected from the virus to stop wearing masks. 

 "I think it’s a lot of political climate and politicians and things, but it’s always best to err on the side of safety," Cervetti said. 

During the first week of July, the American Academy of Pediatrics said 19,482 new Covid cases among children were reported.

"Since the pandemic began, children represented 14.2% of total cumulated cases," AAP said in its report. "For the week ending July 8, children were 22.3% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases."

A few parents, who didn't want to go on camera, said they are fine with Bartlett City Schools not requiring masks. 

Others, like grandparent Gilbert Parra, said it's up to adults to protect our children.

"You protect one, you protect all of them," Parra said. 

Masks will be optional in Arlington Community Schools this school year, which is what the school district transitioned to at the end of last school year.

"We will, however, continue other safety standards we implemented, including strict cleaning protocols, the employment of Safety Compliance Assistants, the continuation of hand sanitizing stations in all classrooms and around the building and three foot social distancing when and where practical," a spokesperson for Arlington Community Schools said.

Germantown Municipal School District and Shelby County Schools said they are still working on a face mask policy.