The Douglas County School System plans to end the mask requirement for elementary school students, staff and visitors next month.

Superintendent Trent North announced in a letter to parents late Wednesday that effective Monday, Dec. 13, masks will be “strongly recommended, not required, in our elementary schools.”

“By this time, elementary students will have had the opportunity to become fully vaccinated,” North wrote. “Masks will continue to be required for students and adults riding a school bus.”

The announcement came just nine days after the school system on Nov. 8 lifted the mask requirement for middle and high schools in the county.

The announcement comes as new cases of COVID-19 in the county continue to remain relatively low.

The school system reports new cases weekly. In the most recent report from Nov. 5-11, there were 23 new cases reported in local schools, with the five new cases at Mirror Lake Elementary the most at any school location in the district.

Children ages 5-11 became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month and the school system has partnered to hold vaccination clinics at several schools.

Douglas County along with every county in the state — except Taylor County in central Georgia — are no longer considered high transmission.

The two-week case rate in Douglas as of Wednesday was 90 cases per 100,000 residents. High transmission is considered anything above 100 cases per 100,000 residents.

The seven-day moving average of new cases shows Douglas has been hovering at around an average of 10 for the past month. That’s down significantly from a fall peak seven-day moving average of 105.6 cases on Sept. 6.