Galax school officials vote to start school year with mask mandate, revisit policy monthly

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FILE – A student wears a face mask while doing work at his desk at the Post Road Elementary School, in White Plains, N.Y., in this Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, file photo. U.S. health officials say the highly contagious delta version of the coronavirus is behind changes to mask guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging. CDC officials said new information about the spread of the delta variant forced them to reverse course. The agency also said teachers and students everywhere should go back to wearing masks in schools. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FIle)

GALAX, Va. (WFXR) — During a Tuesday night meeting, members of the Galax School Board voted to start the 2021-2022 school year with a mask mandate, but that mandate will be reevaluated on a regular basis.

According to Galax City Public Schools, the school board voted unanimously on Tuesday, Aug. 10 in favor of wearing masks and following both CDC guidance and Virginia state law when students return to the classroom. However, the school board will revisit the mask policy at each monthly meeting.

This decision comes after the Galax School Board attorney advised board members that state law requires universal masking in K-12 schools.

As for other actions taken at the meeting, the school district says all necessary school supplies will be provided as the new school year starts on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

In addition, school officials say all meals will be free again this year, including breakfast lunch and a third year. There will also be more bus routes, frequent hand washing opportunities, multiple water bottle refill stations, hand sanitizer stations, and social distancing when possible.

Not only will every student be issued a Chromebook like last year, but also help transitioning if virtual learning becomes necessary.

However, if a student has to miss time this year, they will need to make up assignments like in past years because there will not be “a switchable virtual option,” according to Galax City Public Schools.

Galax school officials will also continue contact tracing and phone calls to homes when they uncover coronavirus cases or contacts.

You can watch a recording of Tuesday’s school board meeting below:

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