December 3, 2021

thesopranosblog

It's Your Education

Which schools are requiring masks and which are not across Southwest, Central Virginia

ROANOKE, Va. – The upcoming school year for students in Southwest and Central Virginia is swiftly approaching, and an update in CDC mask guidelines has many families asking will my child be required to wear a mask while at school?

With Virginia giving the authority to make mask decisions to local school boards, 10 News asked reached out to all 36 school divisions in our coverage area to find out what policy each one is putting into place.

As of now, 12 school divisions are requiring masks, two have some type of mask requirement, 10 will have a mask-optional policy, 13 are undecided and one has not yet replied to our request.

As a note, schools are still under a federal mandate to have students and staff mask up while on school buses.

Below, you can find a list of how each school district plans to tackle masking:

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Masks required – 12 school divisions

Botetourt County Public Schools
  • All students, staff, teachers and visitors to any of the district’s schools will be required to wear a mask, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

  • This applies to all upcoming open houses, orientations and other gatherings prior to the start of the school year.

  • Initially, on July 27, school officials said masks will not be required; however, on Aug. 6, Botetourt County schools issued a statement saying it will abide by CDC’s updated guidelines.

Bedford County Public Schools
  • On Thursday, July 29, the school board voted 4-3 to not require masks in schools; however, on Sunday, Aug. 8, the school board updated the school division’s health and safety mitigations to follow the recent changes in guidance from the CDC, governor’s office and state officials
  • At this time, masks must be worn by all students, staff, teachers and visitors, regardless of vaccination status

  • The new mask policy applies to all upcoming open houses, orientations and other gatherings

Charlotte County Public Schools
  • On Aug. 6, the school changed its mask decision that was made last week

  • Superintendent Robbie Mason told us that Charlotte County Public Schools will now require its students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a mask to begin the school year on Monday, Aug. 9

Danville Public Schools
  • In a 7-0 vote, Danville Public School leaders decided to mandate masks for all students, faculty, staff and visitors in all Danville schools.

  • The school board says the policy may change if COVID-19 cases start to decline again.

Halifax County Public Schools
  • All students, teachers, staff, and visitors must wear a mask over their nose and mouth while on school property

  • Among the exceptions are those exercising or using exercise equipment

Henry County Public Schools
  • At this time, the school’s plan requires everyone in the instructional setting to wear masks.

  • As the year progresses, division leaders will examine local COVID-19 data to determine whether to continue mask-wearing or give vaccinated people the option to not wear a mask.

  • Masks will not be required while eating, during physical activity or while outdoors.

  • Families who have a medical concern are encouraged to contact the school principal or School Nurse Coordinators Sherry Vestal and Beth Troncoso at 540-634-4700.

Lynchburg City Schools
  • Lynchburg City School Board voted 7-2 to mandate masks indoors for all students, staff and visitors regardless of their age and vaccination status during its August 3 meeting.

  • Depending on the number of cases as the year progresses, the school board plans to revisit the mask policies.

  • The school system will have a COVID-19 team that will monitor metrics daily as well as contact traces.

Martinsville City Public Schools
  • Masks will be required for all students and staff (Policy announced August 3)

Montgomery County Schools
  • Montgomery County Schools will have universal masking for students while indoors

  • Staff members must wear a mask while in the presence of students

  • The School Board will review local health data again at their meeting on Sept. 7 (Policy announced Aug. 3)

Pulaski County Public Schools
  • Masks will be required inside all school buildings.

Roanoke City Public Schools
  • Starting Monday, Aug. 9, face masks will be required for all Roanoke City Public Schools students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, where medically and developmentally appropriate (Police announced Aug. 7)

  • This requirement will be effective through the first nine weeks of school or until further notice

  • Face coverings will not be required when exercising, eating or when outdoors

Roanoke County Public Schools
  • However, the school board voted 3-2 on Aug. 6 to require masks for students and staff

Masks required (for some) – 2 school divisions

Buena Vista City Public Schools
  • The school’s plan requires all students and staff in pre-K through 6th grade to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

  • Students and staff in grades 7-12 are required to wear masks indoors if they have not been vaccinated, but those who have been vaccinated are not required to wear masks.

  • The school division will continue to update the plan and our school board may discuss the plan at its August 5 meeting (Policy as of July 26)

Rockbridge County Public Schools
  • “We’re at a point where we’re not quite ready to say that it’s 100% optional with respect to face coverings. We are going to say; however, that any person who has been fully vaccinated has the option to not wear a facemasks,” said Dr. Phillip Thompson in a recorded video.

  • Masks will be worn by all individuals 2 and above who are not fully vaccinated.

  • Everyone should have a mask available at all times for potential instances of close congregation during the school day. (Policy as of July 26)

Masks optional – 10 school divisions

Amherst County Public Schools
  • The school policy as of July 29 says that masks will be optional for students and staff.

  • However, on Aug. 6, Superintendent Rob Arnold told 10 News that the ACPS school board is currently seeking legal counsel and will make a decision about COVID-19 mitigation by the end of the week.

Appomattox County Public Schools
  • Wearing a face covering inside school buildings will be voluntary for adults and will be up to parents.

  • Superintendent Dr. Annette Bennett told 10 News that she will have the authority to make changes to this practice based on VDH data related to positive case identification and vaccination rates in the community.

  • Wearing face coverings on a school bus is required by federal law. It is strongly encouraged by VDH that unvaccinated individuals wear face coverings. (Policy as of July 23)

Bath County Public Schools
  • Indoor masking is strongly recommended; however, it will be optional for students and staff.

  • Parents/guardians are required to submit a form on or before the first day of school to opt-out their child from wearing a mask. Without permission to opt out, students will be expected to wear a mask. (Policy approved August 3)

Campbell County Public Schools
  • To begin the school year, while the school division strongly recommends the wearing of masks, mask-wearing for all staff and students is voluntary.

  • During times of high levels of community transmission or increasing trends in outbreaks, particularly if vaccination coverage is low, CCPS may temporarily require universal indoor masking until data indicates transmission has declined. (Policy as of July 30)

  • As of Aug. 6, officials said they are consulting with lawyers following Northam’s indication that schools will possibly face legal action if they do not mask up.

Carroll County Public Schools
  • On Aug. 4, Superintendent Dr. Mark Burnette told 10 News that while the school division plans to strongly recommend mask-wearing by both students and staff, it will not be mandatory. He did say that the division reserves the right to make masks mandatory if it sees an uptick of cases within its schools.

  • However, on Aug. 5, Burnette told 10 News that the school board hopes to come out with a statement at the beginning of the week regarding Northam’s announcement that schools who don’t mask up could possibly face legal action.

Craig County Public Schools
  • Masks will be optional for all students and staff for the upcoming school year, Superintendent Jeanette Day Warwick told 10 News. (Policy as of July 27)

Floyd County Public Schools
  • Masking inside will be optional for all inside school buildings. (Policy announced August 3)

Franklin County Public Schools
  • Masking will be optional for the upcoming school year (School board voted 6-1 on July 26)

Grayson County Public Schools
  • The decision will be left up to students on whether to wear a mask or not. (Policy as of July 26)

Patrick County Public Schools
  • Masking will be optional for the upcoming school year (Policy as of July 22)

Undecided – 11 school divisions

Alleghany County Public Schools
  • The school division’s committees that work on mitigation plans have not yet had the opportunity to meet and discuss. Superintendent Kimberly Halterman told 10 News that she anticipates that they will bring forward information for discussion at our August board meeting.

Bland County Public Schools
  • School division’s website lists reopening plan as “currently under revision” as of August 4.

Covington City Public Schools
  • On August 5, Superintendent Melinda Snead-Johnson told 10 News that a decision would be made in the very near future, possibly at the August 9 school board meeting.

Galax City Public Schools
  • Superintendent Susan Tilley told 10 News that they have not yet decided on a policy. Their next scheduled board meeting is on August 10.

Giles County Public Schools
  • School board will vote on a plan during its August 12 meeting

Lexington City Schools
  • The school board will make a final decision on August 11, according to Superintendent Rebecca Walters.

Nelson County Public Schools
  • The School Board will meet on Thursday, August 12, to review our current practice and set guidelines for continued safety.

  • School leaders are asking families for their input before Aug. 3 at 5 p.m. via an online survey
Pittsylvania County Public Schools
  • Superintendent Dr. Mark Jones told 10 News on July 22, that the “administration is reviewing the information and conferring with the local health district director and will make a recommendation to the School Board.”

Radford City Schools
  • Rather than decide one themselves, Superintendent Robert Graham said his team wants the community to decide.

Salem City Schools
  • On July 26, a school spokesman told 10 News, “Our first student day is not until August 30, so we have some time to review this properly. Our teachers and parents have plenty of pandemic-related experiences, and they know that things can and likely will change between now and then. We plan to meet with our Leadership Team, that includes individuals from all six of our schools in Salem, and formulate a realistic plan that is both solid from a safety standpoint and effective from a learning perspective.”

Wythe County Public Schools
  • Dr. Scott Jefferies told 10 News on July 22 that the school division hopes to announce plans in a few weeks

Waiting for a reply – 2 school divisions

  • Covington City Public Schools

  • Highland County Public Schools

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