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School board votes to make masks optional for York Co. students beginning Feb. 22

Palm Beach County students wear face masks in school during the 2021_22 academic year.jpg
Posted at 9:38 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 21:38:47-05

YORK Co, Va. - During a special meeting Monday, members of the York County School Board unanimously voted to adjust some of the school district's COVID-19 mitigation strategies, including giving students the option to remove their masks while inside school buildings and offices.

This will go into effect starting Tuesday, February 22.

When discussing the timeline for the changes, the school board wanted to make sure they gave families and staff, especially those who are vulnerable to the virus, to prepare for the shift.

Students will still be required to wear masks while on school buses, in accordance with federal orders. Students who are enrolled in regional programs will also be expected to adhere to the rules of those campuses.

The York County School Division also announced that contact tracing responsibilities for positive COVID-19 cases involving students and staff members will now be handed over to the Peninsula Health District instead of YCSD staff. Students and staff should still report positive COVID-19 diagnoses and follow isolation guidelines.

Everyone is advised to continue to daily health screenings and stay home when sick to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The Department of Labor order requiring employees to wear masks in schools and offices is still in place. Visitors and volunteers will also be required to wear masks inside YCSD facilities until further notice.

This comes after the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill Monday to make masks optional in schools. Senate Bill 739 will now head to Gov. Glenn Youngkin's desk who has indicated he will add an emergency clause to have the bill go into effect immediately.

The General Assembly will now consider any recommendations later this week.

Click here for more Safely at School coverage.