Masks were optional early on at the start of the school year but are now required in the Baldwin County School District.

After three straight weeks numbering in the 50s, COVID-19 cases among Baldwin County School District students and staff dipped down to 36 (32 students, four staff) for the week of Sept. 6-10. 

The local public school system posts its case numbers each Friday. There were 20 cases the first full week back in mid-August. The number jumped to 55 the week after, dropped slightly to 54 Aug. 23-27, went back up to 58 Aug. 30-Sept. 3, then went down to 36 the most recent week ending Sept. 10. Although each of those numbers is bigger than any single week last school year, the increase can likely be attributed to the fact that schools have returned to near-normal in-person enrollment levels. 

BCSD Superintendent Dr. Noris Price sees the school numbers as following the trends seen in the Baldwin County community as a whole. 

“I believe that our COVID cases are representative of our community spread,” she said in a Tuesday email to The Union-Recorder. “This week’s report from the North Central Health District indicated a decline in the number of positive cases, and we did as well. We may be seeing a plateau or a flattening of the curve over the last 10 days. 

“I am pleased with our numbers at this time and believe we are doing a great job mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our school district.”

Baldwin County Schools began the year making masks optional, but changed course about a week in, citing the spread of the Delta variant and the number of COVID cases in Baldwin County. All students, staff, and visitors must wear masks when inside school district facilities and on school buses regardless of vaccination status. 

Price said Tuesday that the mask mandate will remain in place for now, giving Baldwin County’s “substantial spread” designation by the Georgia Department of Public Health as a key reason. 

While the spread may still be substantial, DPH daily data shows that positive cases in Baldwin County have trended downward over the last week or so. Thirty-two new cases were added Monday, and the seven-day moving average of new cases was at 24.3 that same day. Statewide data shows that new cases have been going down basically since the start of September.

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