COVID guidelines outlined as students head back to school

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - We are heading into the second full school year since the coronavirus pandemic started. Schools from our hometowns continue to keep classrooms clean. Hand sanitizer is now essential on the school supply list.

“With COVID we do try to clean more often. The kids use a lot more hand sanitizer. We wipe desks. We change classes in 5th grade,” said Gretna Elementary Teacher Donna Osborne. “So, when they change class they wipe down their desk and chair before they before they move to the other room. Before we go to lunch hand sanitizer and when they come back.”

The Virginia Department of Health’s Health Director Dr. Cynthia B. Morrow has this recommendation before kids head back to class:

“And certainly we fully support that anybody that is not up to date with their vaccines become up to date on the vaccines,” explained Dr. Morrow. “And we would highly encourage parents who are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 may have on their child’s school experience to get their child vaccinated; that is a parental decision, but we certainly encourage it.”

VDH is giving new guidance to school districts on how to handle positive cases in their classrooms.

“The recommendation are any child who has COVID-19 need to isolate,” added Dr. Morrow. “So, that’s someone who has COVID-19 or someone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 needs to stay home until they test. If they’re positive they need to isolate the full five days and ten days if they can’t wear a mask.”

Roanoke City Superintendent Verletta White says she’s excited classes will be in person.

“Parents can continue to mask their children if that’s what they believe is important for them. Our staff members can mask as well,” said White.

White says the schools will always be careful and follow guidelines, but is leaving some decision-making up to families.

“At this point, we are still continuing to promote vaccinations because we want everyone to be healthy, but we are allowing parents to choose what works best for their children and staff members what works best for them as well,” added White.

Lynchburg Public City Schools is encouraging but does not require masks.

Bedford County and Radford City Public Schools write on their websites face masks are optional for students and bus drivers.

Families can reach out to their children’s schools for more information on specific policies and recommendations.

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