Virginia will follow updated CDC mask guidance for teachers and students

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 4:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There will be no debate this fall about wearing masks inside public schools in Virginia.

The state now said it will follow new federal guidelines that came out this Friday; now, vaccinated teachers and students won’t need to wear masks this fall.

The changes come after a growing national vaccination campaign in which children as young as 12 are eligible to get shots, as well as a general decline in recent months in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

“It’s very efficacious in those populations so it makes sense that individuals who are vaccinated in those age groups should be able to follow along the same lines, along the same rules that we have for other environments where vaccinated individuals don’t necessarily have to mask and/or practice social distancing,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, Richmond - Henrico Health Districts.

The guidance generally leaves it to local officials to figure out how to ensure the unvaccinated are using precautions.

The biggest questions will be at middle schools where some students are eligible for shots and others aren’t.

“It is a good step forward I think schools are probably going to have to do some thinking about what’s going to get implemented, in particular where you have mixed-aged groups and things like that,” said Dr. Viray.

The governor’s office also says the Virginia Department of Health is working with the Department of Education to review this guidance and will make necessary updates in the coming days.

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