Bedford County School Board chairwoman details decisions to toss student mask mandate, contact tracing

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:10 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Thursday night Bedford County’s school board voted to make masks optional for students in schools beginning in February.

The 5-2 vote comes as the area and state continue to be designated as high transmission for coronavirus.

School board chairwoman Susan Kirby says part of the reason for the change is that masks have been presenting a problem for teachers.

“We looked at the learning time that is lost from teachers having to correct the students and to put their mask on properly, to cover their nose and that just takes away a lot of class time,” said Kirby.

Masks are still required for students on buses and for all staff.

The board also voted to toss contact tracing, effective in February. Kirby says the current process is tedious, but that they plan to still communicate with parents if a student is found to have coronavirus.

“What we are going to try to do is if there is a classroom where there is a COVID-positive student in that classroom, we’re going to attempt to contact every parent within that classroom to let them know there was a COVID-positive student in that classroom and let them make their own choices as far as quarantining, staying at home, but of course that will also make them aware to look out for any symptoms that they may have,” said Kirby. “We’re respecting parental choice.”

Distancing of three to six feet is still required, along with the daily cleaning of classrooms and restrooms.

Kirby says the board consulted their attorney before making these decisions.

Copyright 2022 WDBJ. All rights reserved.