HAMPTON ROADS - Public school districts are faced with deciding on if students in schools will be required to wear face masks while indoors at school and on buses.
With the start of school just weeks away and with millions of kids under 12 who are still not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, some parents are concerned about the Delta variant and believe masking up in class is the way to go and should be a rule. Other parents believe they should be able to decide on masks for their kids themselves.
The Virginia Department of Health has previously left school mask policy decisions to local divisions but recommended masks indoors for elementary schools. In a press conference on Aug. 5. Gov. Northam referenced that Virginia passed a law in March that students will be in schools five days a week and will follow CDC guidelines. If schools do not follow CDC guidelines, Northam suggested legal counsel.
In a reversal of an earlier guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. The CDC is also recommending that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. That includes students, staff, and visitors.
Here is information that we have so far on what the Seven Cities have decided:
Masks optional for students and staff. Parents must complete an exemption letter for unmasked students. Masks mandatory on buses regardless of exemption. Decision made at a school board meeting on August 9.
Masks required both indoors and on buses. Decision made at a school board meeting on August 4. The school will re-evaluate its recommendation by the end of the first quarter.
Has not yet given out specific mask guidelines ahead of the school year, but posted a letter to their website in June, "NPS will continue to follow the most current health and safety guidance from the CDC, which currently includes mask-wearing."
Masks required both indoors and on buses. Posted to the schools website on August 9.
Masks required both indoors and on buses. Decision made at a school board retreat on August 7.
Not yet determined. Meeting to discuss back-to-school measures on August 12.
Masks required both indoors and on buses. Decision made at a school board meeting on August 10.