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Neither masks nor social distancing required | First look inside Georgia's schools

A district spokesperson told 11Alive that masks are not required, but are strongly encouraged and recommended.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — As students in two metro Atlanta counties returned to class on Monday, students, parents and social media shared photos of what it looked like in the middle of a global pandemic.

Some showed students and faculty wearing masks and practicing social distancing, while others showed large groups with few masks and no social distancing. 

Cherokee and Paulding counties both returned to in-person instruction on Monday. 

In response to the photos, 11Alive reached out to the Cherokee County School District for a statement regarding the lack of masks and social distancing that was being shared in images. 

RELATED: Student at Cherokee Co. elementary school tests positive for COVID-19, classroom to quarantine

"Masks are not mandated for students – they are strongly encouraged and recommended," Barbara Jacoby, Chief Communications Officer, said. "The fact that masks would not be mandated for students is known to all CCSD parents, as it has been repeatedly communicated to them since the reopening plan was announced July 8."

Here are some of the photos.

In Paulding County, student pictures show crowded hallways at North Paulding High School in Dallas. Fewer than half of the students shown are wearing masks.

Credit: AP
In this photo posted on Twitter, students crowd a hallway, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga. The 30,000-student suburban Paulding County school district in suburban Atlanta resumed classes Monday with 70% of students returning for in-person classes five days a week, days after the principal at North Paulding announced some members of the football team had tested positive for COVID-19. The district says it is encouraging mask use, but isn't requiring it. (Twitter via AP)

"So much for masks and social distancing," one person wrote in an email to 11Alive with the below photo from what appeared to be Sequoyah High School. 

Credit: Provided

Another viewer pointed out an image that was allegedly posted to a Sequoyah High School social media account that was later deleted. It shows a large group of students with only a few people wearing masks. 11Alive decided to blur the faces of these students.

Credit: Provided

Another photo posted to social media shows a large group of students, also not wearing masks, at Etowah High School taking their traditional first day of school group picture. 11Alive decided to also blur the faces of these students. 

Credit: Provided

A photo sent to the 11Alive newsroom shows a crowded hallway at Canton High School, but with what appears to show students wearing face masks. 

Credit: Provided

At Sixes Elementary School in Canton, school officials posted an entire album of photos. Here's one of a classroom at the school taken on Monday. "1st Day of School was a SUCCESS at Sixes! So many smiling faces and kids glad to be back together again," they said on Facebook.

Credit: Sixes Elementary School