Students and staff who are not vaccinated will be required to wear face masks when they return to classrooms at Louisa County Public Schools next month. The schools are continuing to follow guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control.
"Mask breaks will continue to be utilized at all of our schools, and students will be able to take their masks off when they’re outdoors," said Doug Straley, superintendent of schools, in a recorded message sent today to students' families. "Fully vaccinated staff and students will not be required to wear face masks in the classroom, but they can choose to do so if they’d like."
The schools will also maintain many of the other practices that were instituted a year ago, before any vaccines were available. These include checking temperatures before people enter school buildings; disinfecting buildings and school buses daily; signs and floor markings to help people maintain social distancing; and plexiglass barriers in high-traffic areas.
Unlike last year, students are only expected to maintain three feet of distance from each other, which allows the schools to return to school five days a week.
Even if they're vaccinated, students and staff will be required to wear masks when there are a lot of them in the same places, such as during class transitions in hallways and at large student gatherings. All students are required to wear masks on school buses, which is a federal requirement.
If a student is vaccinated and they are within three to six feet of another student who tests positive for COVID-19, the first student will not have to quarantine as long as both students are wearing masks.
"This is a huge change and it means that if we do have positive cases this year, which is something that we all know will probably happen, we shouldn’t have to quarantine many students for being close contacts because they will be following our mask requirements," Straley said.