HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — The Henrico School Board received an update from county staff on COVID-19 at their meeting on Thursday, touching on a contentious topic: the school division’s mask mandate.

While legislation on the mask mandate is making its way through the General Assembly, the school board signaled that they aren’t going to reconsider their mask mandate – not until the numbers look better.

“This is not political on our part,” said board member Kristi Kinsella. “This is valuing health and safety.”

Instead, staff recommended that the school board put off reconsidering their mask policy until cases drop in the county. Specifically, staff recommended that the board wait until positivity rates are below 10% and new cases are below 100 per 100,000 for 7 consecutive days.

The positivity rate is currently 16.5% – indicating it might be a while before the board addresses the mask mandate.

Even when those criteria are met, the school board wouldn’t be under any immediate obligation to revoke their mask mandate – it’s simply been recommended to them that they revisit the issue at that time.

Dr. Amy Cashwell, superintendent of Henrico Public Schools, also emphasized that teachers and staff would still be required to wear masks.

The board unanimously voted to adopt the criteria and granted Dr. Cashwell the authority to transition to a mask-optional policy when the criteria are eventually met.