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Hall County Schools to close Sept. 20 for voluntary vaccination day
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North Hall High nurse Jennifer Smallwood gives a Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Hall County Schools staff members Friday, March 12, 2021, at Free Chapel Worship Center. - photo by Scott Rogers

The Hall County School District will close its schools on Monday, Sept. 20, to hold a mental health/voluntary vaccination day, according to an email Friday afternoon from the district. 

The board of education recently rejected a proposal 3-2 to incentivize employee vaccination with a one-time $400 payment to any employee who proved they were fully vaccinated before Oct. 15. District spokesman Stan Lewis said they believe about 50% of staff are vaccinated, but they do not require staff to share that information. 

The district reported a total of 383 coronavirus cases as of Friday, Aug. 27, with 817 currently under quarantine and 1,057 quarantined but attending school masked under recently updated guidelines. 

District officials have repeatedly drawn a connection between COVID-19 mitigation measures and mental health, arguing that the measures have negatively impacted the emotional well-being of students. 

As a whole, the district encourages masks but does not require them. However, as cases in the district continue to climb, nine schools have implemented mask mandates.