The debate over masking school-aged children rages on in Virginia with school systems defying newly-elected Governor Youngkin's ban on mask mandates.
Loudon County Public Schools is one of the school systems that refuses to comply with the governor's executive order. The Northern Virginia school system recently released "updated" information stating that their mask and mitigation policy is still in place and being enforced.
The school system said the guidance they received indicates they are within their rights to require masks with the local school board's approval.
Statewide, the challenges are being decided in court.
Read full statement here or below.
MASK STATEMENT FOR MONDAY JANUARY 24, 2022
The Loudoun County Public Schools’ 2021-2022 Mask and Mitigation Plan, updated January 19, 2022, remains in place.
Please know that LCPS does not take this decision lightly. The guidance the school division has received indicates that it may continue to require masks as their locally elected school board sees fit.
On January 18, the School Board voted to support the superintendent’s recommendation to continue the current mitigation efforts, including the mask mandate within LCPS.
Our school community will be expected to follow the mask requirements posted in the full COVID-19 Mitigation Plan.
LCPS is aware that some parents, students, and staff plan to disregard the mandate to wear masks in school. We want to remind our school community that:
- Students who do not wear masks will quarantine for 10 days if they are deemed a close contact.
- Students who do not wear masks and are closer than six feet apart will be considered a close contact.
- Students who wear masks and are three or more feet apart are not considered close contacts.
- Without masks, the number of close contacts will likely increase, as will the likelihood of an increase in the number of whole-class quarantines and the possibility of whole-school transition to distance learning.
Mask-wearing helps potential close contacts return to the classroom sooner and remain in-person for learning.
Students who are not wearing a mask will be asked to wear one. If they do not have a mask, one will be provided to them. If a student refuses to wear a mask, staff will meet with the student and contact their parent/guardian to discuss and identify the reason the student will not comply. If non-compliance is related to a medical or financial need, the school-based team will develop a plan of action to support the student in following the requirement.
The mask requirement is part of a layered strategy to keep students and staff learning in schools, in-person, at a time when community transmission of COVID-19 remains high. LCPS acknowledges that these ongoing mitigation measures are not ideal or easy, and we will keep monitoring transmission data, advice from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and continue consultation with the local Loudoun County Health Department.
Please note that LCPS may opt to adjust its mask policy in the future. We will keep our families and community informed if any changes occur.
Scott A. Ziegler, Ed.D.
Published January 24, 2022