Virginia School Districts Given Flexibility To Require Face Masks In Classrooms

WMAL News

WASHINGTON – New guidance from the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Education recommends that students wear face masks inside schools this fall.

This new guidance is only a recommendation for PreK-12 schools. School districts will be allowed to set rules based on local data and guidance from the CDC.

“Virginia has followed the science throughout this pandemic, and that’s what we continue to do,” said Gov. Ralph Northam in a statement. “This guidance takes into consideration recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and will provide necessary flexibility for school divisions while ensuring a safe, healthy, and world-class learning environment for Virginia’s students. Again, I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get vaccinated. Getting your shot will protect you, your family, and your community—and it is the only way we can beat this pandemic once and for all.”

The following is a list of recommendations from state health and education officials:

  • Elementary schools should implement a requirement that students, teachers, and staff wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, until vaccination is available for children under 12 years old and there has been sufficient time to allow for children younger than 12 years old to be fully vaccinated.
  • At a minimum, middle and high schools should implement a requirement that students, teachers and staff who are not fully vaccinated wear masks indoors. While school divisions regularly confirm school-required immunization records of their students, they should consult with their counsel in determining if and how to confirm student and staff COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • All schools may want to consider universal masking for specific reasons as outlined in certain circumstances by the CDC.
  • All schools should be prepared to adjust local mask policies as local public health conditions evolve throughout the year.

According to a release from the state department of education, masks must be worn on public transportation in Virginia, including buses operated by Virginia public schools.

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