Henrico schools will encourage masks this fall, but not require them

Education

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County Public Schools will encourage students and staff who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks during the upcoming school year, but a memo sent to staff Tuesday revealed that the district will not require them indoors.

The policy, also listed on the district’s school website, says mask-wearing will also be encouraged for those who are not fully vaccinated or have underlying health conditions.

“In alignment with current guidance, HCPS strongly encourages mask-wearing at school, especially indoors for students under the age of 12 (who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine), others who are not fully vaccinated, as well as for those with underlying health conditions,” a memo sent to Henrico schools’ staff on Tuesday read.

“While we encourage mask-wearing for those not fully vaccinated, we respect that mask-wearing is currently an individual’s choice,” the notice continued.”While we encourage mask-wearing for those not fully vaccinated, we respect that mask-wearing is currently an individual’s choice,” the notice continued.

Masks will still be required on school buses due to a federal order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The school district will continue to have disposable masks available for students and staff on buses and in school buildings.

Related coverage: Richmond schools to require masks for upcoming school year

There will also be a focus on handwashing, maintaining 3-foot distancing where possible, cleaning of high touch areas and maintaining indoor air systems.

Parents can expect specific safety plans from their individual schools before the start of the new school year.

Richmond and Hopewell’s school districts recently decided masks will be required in classrooms for teachers and staff regardless of if they’re vaccinated or not.

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