Rockbridge County School Board votes 5-0 to implement universal masking

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ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The members of the Rockbridge County School Board voted Tuesday to abide by the latest federal health guidance and implement universal masking at schools, effective immediately.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly taught us that we must remain flexible in an ever-changing situation, especially when it comes to public schools,” Rockbridge County Public Schools wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, Aug. 10. “The Rockbridge County area has experienced an increased COVID-19 community transmission rate over that past two weeks. Unfortunately, this trend is the reality of many counties across our Commonwealth.”

This news comes after an update from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on their recommendation for K-12 schools on Aug. 4, as well as a reminder from Gov. Ralph Northam on Aug. 5 about a legal mandate for Virginia public school divisions to implement CDC guidance.

Following a 5-0 vote of the Rockbridge County School Board on Tuesday, the school district says the updated CDC guidelines will be followed and masks will be universally required for all students, staff, teachers, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

This mandate is not only a change from Rockbridge County’s previous “return to learn” plan from July 26, but the new requirement will apply to all upcoming open houses, orientations, and other gatherings before the school year starts on Tuesday, Aug. 17, according to the school district.

However, school officials say this policy may change depending on changes in local transmission rates and updated guidance from the CDC.

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