HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County parents are reacting to the new school mask mandate issued Thursday.
Henrico County Public Schools board members voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to make masks mandatory just before Gov. Ralph Northam released his new order.
For the start of the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, everyone (including employees and students) are required to wear masks inside of all Henrico schools and offices regardless of their vaccination status.
The exceptions for masks in schools include but aren’t limited to eating and drinking, medical reasons, performing arts and athletics.
People are also strongly encouraged to wear masks outside, especially for those who aren’t vaccinated and when physical distancing isn’t possible. The federal order remains in place that requires face coverings on buses.
Brittany Rose, the mother of two Henrico students, held signs up outside the school board meeting pleading for the the board to make mask-wearing universal.
“I think that voting for universal masking at this time is the safe and responsible thing for our kids, for our teachers and for our wider community,” she said.
Mary Corbett is the parent of a Henrico teacher. She was concerned about her child’s safety without the mask mandate in schools.
“I certainly don’t want my child, who is an adult and who is vaccinated, to possibly get this,” she said. “it only makes sense for everyone to wear masks. I think that the teachers are as vulnerable as the students.”
Some parents on the other side of the decision told 8News their children should just be kids and that masks should be optional.
Governor Northam’s newly released public health order requires all schools statewide to have universal masking indoors.
Henrico employees and students will return to school in-person September 8.
Families who registered for Henrico’s virtual academy will remain fully online. Registration for the virtual academy closed in May.