Fairfax County was also one of seven school systems in Virginia that sued Governor Glen Yangkin demanding an end to his decree making masks in schools optional, calling into question the constitutionality of the order.
On Friday, the head of Virginia’s largest school system said in a message to families that parents and guardians can choose to have their children go to school without masks from March 1.
Fairfax County Superintendent Superintendent Scott Brabrand wrote that there will be no formal denial process for students who choose not to wear masks. Covering is still required on school buses if you participate in the county pre-stay test program and when you return to school on the sixth day of the 10-day quarantine.
Brabrand’s announcement makes the school system last plans to comply with a recent state law that allows parents to decide whether to wear their children ‘s masks to school. Prince William and Laudan County schools have already waived mask requirements, and Arlington and Alexandria have announced plans for optional camouflage from March 1st.
All adults, including staff and visitors, should still wear masks, Brabrand said.
“As a school unit, we remain concerned about the health of our Fairfax community and urge all students to continue to participate in universal camouflage to protect students and staff with health problems,” Brabrand wrote. “By working through these changes, we will appreciate our value of a culture of care.”
The county had previously announced plans to make masks optional once transmission in society, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has fallen within the range of moderate transmission. As of Friday, c the county is experiencing significant community transfersaccording to the CDC.
Fairfax County was also one of seven Virginia school systems that sued Governor Glenn Youngkin stop his decree on the making of masks in schools optional, questioning the constitutionality of this order.
On Thursday, the 12-member school board voted to allow the county’s legal counsel to “file a friend’s application in the federal case, challenging decree № 2 and SB 739,” legislation on camouflage and personal training.
According to new CDC guidelines released on Friday, people, including schoolchildren, should wear masks if the risk of COVID-19 infection is high. Updated guide focuses less on positive cases and focuses more on hospital workload.
The school system, Brabrand said, will organize contact tracking “under limited circumstances when detected by local health officials” and will not tell quarantine students unless they are identified as close contacts during a school outbreak.
Beginning March 14, Fr. A pre-stay testing program will also be available at each county school in case of an outbreak. The stay test allows unvaccinated close contacts to stay in school if they test negative for the first five days after infection.
“These changes are evidence that we are entering a new phase of the pandemic,” Brabrand wrote. “We want all families to be confident that their children are learning in a safe, supportive environment.”
At a school board meeting on Thursday night, Fairfax County School Board Chair Stella Pekarski shared a statement on behalf of the board, noting, “We strongly encourage parents and students to continue wearing masks at school.”
“We urge our community to continue to follow the instructions of health officials, especially in the interests of students and staff with weakened immune systems,” the statement said.
At a public hearing Thursday night, Kimberly Adams, president of the Fairfax Education Association, said: “We appreciate that the demand for masks for all staff will continue until we meet moderate transfer rates in our county.”
In a statement Friday, Adams said: “Protecting our most vulnerable staff and students remains our priority. We encourage FCPS staff to keep a distance of 6 feet from others if possible, but we know that in our school and on transportation it is not always possible. Cases continue to be detected in our schools, and we expect tracking of contacts to be conducted on all sites. Work on vaccinating students continues. Maintaining multi-layered prevention strategies is our only way out of this pandemic, which has claimed more than 1,400 lives in Fairfax County alone. “