Tens of thousands of students are returning to school in Fauquier County on Wednesday. Unlike many of their peers in Northern Virginia, they aren't required to wear a mask.
“We are just super excited to have all the kids back. This is a day we’ve waited for, for so long,” Leah Shorb, interim principal of Cedar Lee Middle School, said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Fauquier County has high transmission of COVID-19 and face coverings are recommended for everyone over 2 in public, indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
Shorb says families can decide how they want to handle masks.
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“I’ve talked to parents on both sides of the issue. And I feel comfortable our kids will do what makes their families feel comfortable,” Shorb said. “I have mine ready to go for when we’re inside because it’s strongly recommended.”
Fauquier County Public Schools strongly recommends that students under 12 — who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines — wear masks in schools and on buses.
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Masks are recommended for older students, staff and visitors on school buses and in buildings.
FCPS says it could mandate face coverings if there is a significant COVID-19 outbreak that leads to many cases or absences.
Currently, there are two active COVID-19 cases among students and none among staff, according to FCPS data.
The school is open five days a week for full-time, in-person learning, but also allows students to apply to the FCPS Virtual Academy.
Students in Spotsylvania County will return to school Thursday and there is a requirement to wear masks.
Here’s what other D.C.-area school districts say about masks: