Schools prepare to lift mask mandates

Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 5:51 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville and Albemarle County students, teachers, and administrators are getting ready for masking requirements to change. For some elementary schoolers, it’ll be their first time ever attending school without a mask.

ACPS and CCS were two districts maintaining their mask mandates all year, but the Governor’s new legislation has forced them to shift gears.

“This has been the normal right and there’s gonna be a big change in school,” Principal of Baker Butler Elementary School Seth Kennard said.

Albemarle schools have been doing prep for weeks now, so March 1 is a smooth transition.

“The day is gonna feel very, very normal. But I think over time, we’ll see different choices with masking and we’re going to help work with our students to make sure that those are accepted,” Kennard said.

The schools will be working with school counselors.

“We’ve done lessons over morning announcements, and we luckily have morning meetings every day where we discuss kind of things that are coming up. And one of discussions we’re having is about differences and how this may be a difference that we see,” Kennard said.

It is a similar scene in Charlottesville City Schools, where there are discussions ongoing with principals, central offices and also inside individual buildings with teachers.

“We’re on the lookout to make sure that no one is excluding anyone because they may be unmasked or excluding anyone because they are masked or whatever, whatever that looks like,” Johnson Elementary School Principal Summer Thompson said.

Thompson and Kennard both know it is their students’ family’s choice and they say respect that.

“We’re really aware that there could be some social repercussions,” Kennard said.

They say they are just focused on making sure everyone is comfortable.

“I think we’ve put the foundations in place to really kind of support this as it comes through but will obviously work with any students or families if there’s any difficulties they experience,” Kennard said.

The option to opt out of wearing a mask officially starts Tuesday. Students are still required to wear them on buses and all staff will still be masked up.

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