The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search
News

Road work starts this week in Town of Halifax

Counties seek $78.5M for fiber broadband

Mecklenburg spearheads VATI grant request for high-speed internet service to most homes in region within three to four years

Renovation plans for South Hill police station stir debate


Sports

Comets spikers fall to Tunstall on the road


Community


Opinion


A&E

News

State urges continued mask use inside schools

SoVaNow.com / July 22, 2021

Virginia school divisions were advised Wednesday by Virginia’s health and education officials to make mask-wearing part of the upcoming school year.

The Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Department of Health, issued a joint statement urging school divisions to require masks in elementary classrooms for as long as students under age 12 are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

School divisions were also advised by department officials to consider mask mandates for older grades, in instances where significant numbers of students, teachers and other staff have not been vaccinated.

Noting schools’ “special place in the life of our communities,” Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said the updated guidance “is aimed at protecting students, educators, and staff while also providing localities with flexibility. We continue to urge eligible Virginians to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and their communities.”

Although the Health Commissioner’s public order requiring masks indoors at school will not be extended past July 25, the statement by VDH and VDOE leaders “strongly recommends” that school divisions take specific steps to protect students and staff from coronavirus exposure:

Elementary schools should implement a requirement that students, teachers, and staff wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, until vaccination is available for children under 12 years old and there has been sufficient time to allow for children younger than 12 years old to be fully vaccinated.

At a minimum, middle and high schools should implement a requirement that students, teachers and staff who are not fully vaccinated wear masks indoors. The VDH-VDOE statement suggests that school divisions “should consult with their counsel in determining if and how to confirm student and staff COVID-19 vaccinations.”

All schools may want to consider universal masking for specific reasons, in accordance with guidance by the federal Centers for Disease Control,

All schools should be prepared to adjust local mask policies as local public health conditions evolve throughout the year, state officials said.

Wednesday’s advisory does single out one part of school life where masks will be required — on school buses, since the CDC’s federal order mandating that masks be worn on public transportation remains in effect. The order extends to school buses.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Lineburg said he learned of the updated guidance on Wednesday, the same day that the departments issued their joint statement. Without time to review the specifics, Lineburg said he was not in a position to comment on how Halifax County Public Schools will respond.

“I’ve got to digest it, talk with our folks and talk to our [school] board to see where we are,” said Lineburg. He noted that School Nurse Coordinator Tina Slabach, who has provided regular updates on public health conditions in Halifax County, is on vacation this week.

“No decisions have been made. We take our time [to study] everything,” he said.

The updated guidance by state officials comes as the United States is experiencing another wave of COVID-19 infections, largely driven by a strain known as the Delta variant that is more infectious than previous versions of the pathogen. After dropping sharply amid a national vaccination campaign, COVID-19 numbers have surged in areas where large numbers of people are not been inoculated.

The pattern of new sickness prompted the CDC to label this latest wave of COVID-19 “the pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Halifax County’s vaccination rate lags well behind the average in Virginia, with 37.1 percent of the population fully vaccinated. The state average is 53.3 percent.

“Virginia has followed the science throughout this pandemic, and that’s what we continue to do,” said Governor Ralph Northam in a statement Wednesday. “This guidance takes into consideration recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and will provide necessary flexibility for school divisions while ensuring a safe, healthy, and world-class learning environment for Virginia’s students.

“Again, I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get vaccinated. Getting your shot will protect you, your family, and your community — and it is the only way we can beat this pandemic once and for all.”

In the VDH-VDOE joint statement, officials urge that prevention strategies be “layered together,” with local divisions advised to work with local health departments to implement mitigation strategies based on information about the levels of community transmission, local vaccine coverage, the occurrence of cases and outbreaks in schools, and the use of screening testing data to detect cases in schools.

“Vaccination remains the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccinating teachers, staff, and eligible students is a critical layer of prevention and protection for all,” the statement notes.




Tell-a-Friend | Submit a Comment

44

Comments

No masks! This BS has gone on long enough!

Comments

GET VACCINATED!

Comments

Eligible ppl vaccinate or mask up

Comments

Some coward stealing my name. If you want a shot ok if you don't want a shot ok, no masks. If you trust the government that is your first mistake. Masks don't help.

Comments

Where did you recieve your advanced medical doctorate? ^^^ masks work... not 100 effective but without doubt mitigate a certain percentile. If u want a shot great if you dont ok stay home, home school and stay away from the public. If you trust this guy^^^ fuggetaboutit.


Classified Advertising

Buy and sell items in News & Record classifieds.