Several Northern Virginia school systems are taking a wait-and-see approach to a new law banning mask mandates in the state …
Several Northern Virginia school systems follow a wait-and-see approach to a new law banning masks in public schoolswhile one announced plans to roll back its claims.
Gov. Glen Yangkin signed the law, SB739, on Wednesday afternoon, declaring at the signing ceremony in Richmond that lawmakers “affirm the rights that we know all parents have”. This allows parents to “opt for [their] a child should not wear a mask when on school grounds, ”regardless of the instructions of local school boards or government agencies.
School districts must complete them by March 1st. Many have maintained mask requirements in schools, citing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommend masks for K-12 students, regardless of vaccination status.
Laudan County was the first to lift the restrictions, announcing in a statement Wednesday that masks would become optional in schools from February 22nd.
In a letter to families earlier this week, Prince William County Lounge Head of Schools McTaid said the school system is reviewing the new law and will be updated on Friday. Chairman of the School Board Babur Latef called for “exclusion” from camouflage in the county.
Arlington School Principal Francisco Durand said on Twitter that the county would present a plan regarding mitigation of mask requirements at a school board meeting on Thursday.
And Fairfax County Public Schools, the state’s largest school system, said in a statement that “they are considering what it means for the FCPS as local health indicators continue to improve.” He recently announced a plan to lift the mask requirement after the county reaches seven consecutive days of moderate transmission in the community as determined by the CDC.
The future of camouflage in schools has been a contentious issue in recent weeks in some states such as Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and Connecticut recently announced plans to repeal school camouflage requirements.
David Dowdy, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Bloomberg, said school systems will find it difficult to meet mask requirements if transmission becomes very low.
“At some point, I hope COVID-19 will become a small enough public health issue at some point in time that it doesn’t dictate how we will live and how our children go to school,” Daudi said.
Meanwhile, Christy Hudson of the Fairfax County Parents Association, a group of more than 2,400 parents, praised the recently passed mask law because it allows families to “do their own risk assessment for their children.”
According to her, Hudson’s teenagers are “definitely ready to end the masks.”
“They see this discrepancy when schools require masks, when they have to wear these masks, when they sit in class with their peers, but then they are not required to wear these masks right after school if they play sports with the same peers Said Hudson.
Michelle Cades, president of PTA Fairfax County Special Education, said that despite improved performance, making masks optional in schools is premature.
“We are still at the center of a pandemic,” Cades said. “I know it’s exhausting and there’s a lot of compassion fatigue, pandemic fatigue, COVID fatigue, but it doesn’t allow the pandemic to go away. As far as our school system is concerned, and when it comes down to it, our governor and our lawmakers are trying to make decisions to satisfy the majority of people who can, none of whom are physicians or health experts. ”
Josh Folb, a high school math teacher in Arlington, said he feared the new law would lead to a loss of local control. He said his students complied with the mask requirements, including one who had recently approached him for fear of the possibility that masks would no longer be needed in schools.
“Students understand how proliferation can happen,” Folb said. “Especially now with Omicron, they’ve seen their friends get sick. … I had friends who taught in states that had no mask requirements throughout the pandemic, and they told me about how hard it was for them and how they felt. And, you know, I wonder what it will look like for us. “