EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Kemp says mask-wearing in schools should be a choice

Published: Aug. 7, 2021 at 3:07 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WTVM) - News Leader 9 sat down with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for an exclusive interview about his thoughts on decisions being made by local school systems as they start the new school year.

Kemp’s personal opinion is that wearing a mask should be a choice. The governor has said consistently that he would not issue a mask mandate in Georgia and he doesn’t believe they’re effective.

“I’m not a fan of a lot of government mandates, especially when it comes to COVID. The president told us, ‘Get vaccinated and take your mask off’ and now they’ve changed that. So, I don’t think a lot of people trust the government right now,” said Kemp.

News Leader 9 talked at length on the topics in the governor’s office at the capitol. When asked for his stance on mask mandates and how he feels about local school systems mandating masks at the start of the new school year, Governor Kemp replied:

“I’ve really been a local control governor when it comes to education. You’ve got a local elected school board. You’ve got an elected, statewide school superintendent, state board of education. You know, we worked with our superintendents and educational leaders last year and they handled things really well. I’m trusting them to do that again.”

When asked whether or not superintendents, such as Muscogee County School District’s Dr. David Lewis, seek Kemp’s feedback on issues and their relationships, Governor Kemp said:

“Dr. Lewis and a lot of the school superintendents - I have, kind of, a kitchen cabinet, ad-hoc roundtable. I’m talking to superintendents all the time, from all over the state, and all kind of different systems that they’re representing - from large metro districts to places like Columbus, a lot of rural areas as well, just so we can gauge. You know, that’s the problem with a state mandate. Every one of these districts is different. Every one of these school systems is dealing with different situations, in Columbus than, maybe, they are in Georgetown and Quitman County.”

He also added that parents who may be upset about masks mandates need to attend school board meetings and ask for data that led to the local decisions.

“I’m going to continue to be consistent. We can’t have a special session for every single issue that pops up,” the governor said.

Governor Kemp has taken the COVID-19 vaccine along with his entire family. He says it’s a personal choice for everyone. “Don’t trust what the government is saying. Go talk to your doctor. Talk to your local pharmacist, and make a good health decision for you and your family.”

Kemp says his office is fighting and working hard to support school systems to make sue they can be open for kids to learn in-person all year.

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