Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp introduced a new bill allowing parents to decide whether or not their kids will wear masks in school. During a news conference unveiling the 'Unmask Georgia Students Act,' Kemp pressed that "we've got to continue to move back to normal operations."
The governor stated the new bill, which would take effect upon signature, would give parents an "opt out" on whether or not to mask their children in the classroom. Kemp emphasized that the bill wouldn't outlaw or prevent students from wearing masks, but rather give them the option to decide if they or their parents wish not to.
The bill is still in the early stages and would need to make it through the state House and Senate.
So, how will this be reinforced?
Kemp wasn't exactly clear on explaining that other than to say they "hopefully won't have to worry" about that.
What clarification was given seemed to simply state that a child can not be punished for not wearing a mask in the classroom, according to the bill. Still, the governor seemed to understand that attempted pushback to the legislation would likely happen.
When asked about the possibility of another variant, creating a spike in cases similar to the recent omicron surge, Kemp did add that COVID "isn't going to just end" but he believes there are now tools to fight the virus.
Still, health officials have been cautious about removing mandates, despite cases from the recent omicron surge leveling off. Medical Director of Infection Prevention for Wellstar Health SystemDr. Danny Branstetter previously said people should continue to mask up and get boosted.
Meanwhile, Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky agreed last week that now is not the time to drop mandates.