Mask requirement dropped in Alleghany County Public Schools

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 5:22 PM EST
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ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ/Alleghany County Public Schools Release) - In anticipation of the passage of a new state law that will allow parents to determine whether their children wear masks at school, Alleghany County Public Schools will transition to mask-optional for students starting Monday, February 14, 2022.

Even though the district will no longer require students to wear masks indoors, mask-wearing will be “welcomed and encouraged because it has been an effective component of the school division’s layered COVID-19 mitigation strategies,” according to the district. “Those strategies have helped schools maintain in-person instruction throughout the academic year.”

“We have been so grateful for everyone’s patience as we have worked through some confusion between language in EO2 and SB1303. We appreciate the added clarity of the current context. Again, we are so thankful for the mutual respect in our community, even when individuals have differing opinions,” said Alleghany County School Superintendent Kim Halterman.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022, the Virginia Senate approved SB739, which states parents may determine if their children wear masks at school. The bill is expected to clear the General Assembly and be signed into law by the governor in the near future.

The Virginia Department of Health still considers Alleghany County a high transmission area for COVID-19. Students who are part of clinical settings in schools, such as the school nurse’s clinic, will be encouraged to wear masks to help mitigate the spread of COVID and other infectious diseases.

The masking opt-out in schools will not apply to faculty and staff. Masks will still be required for all employees while inside K-12 school buildings. This is required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Department of Labor and Industry while Alleghany County is in a period of high transmission.

Additionally, students participating in special programs, including programs at other sites and work-based learning experiences, will need to follow the masking requirements of their host facilities. A federal mandate still requires students to wear masks while aboard school buses. The masking regulation on buses is required regardless of a student’s vaccination status or masking choices while in a school building.

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