Fairfax County Public Schools

Fairfax County Schools Say Students Must Keep Wearing Masks

A group called #SeeOurSmiles announced plans to demonstrate against FCPS' mask mandate

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Fairfax County Public School students will return to class Tuesday after a long weekend, and masks will still be required despite an order from the Virginia governor.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order stating that parents can choose whether their child wears a face covering to school as of Monday, Jan. 24.

However, Fairfax County Public Schools says it still requires students and staff to wear face coverings: "FCPS continues to require universal mask wearing in alignment with CDC guidance. Our layered prevention strategies have proven effective in keeping transmission rates low in our schools."

The school pointed to its dress code policy as a reference for how it will handle any situation where a student won't wear a mask.

“Students who are not compliant with the foregoing may be subject to counseling, loss of privileges, removal from class or activities, or disciplinary action,” the dress code policy reads.

Fairfax County Superintendent Scott Brabrand has called for universal masking to remain in place on campuses as COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly. Fairfax County Public Schools has signed on to a lawsuit filed on Jan. 24 challenging Youngkin’s executive order.

A called the #SeeOurSmiles campaign said it planned to rally in protest at Langley High School and Forestville Elementary School Tuesday in opposition to the mask policy, but News4 visited both schools and no rallies were underway.

In a letter, the group encouraged people to send letters to principals stating, “forced masking is wrong.” They asked people to be courteous and respectful to school staff.

The Fairfax County Federation of Teachers said the guidance is clear that masking should remain in place.

“The science tells us that the way to keep school buildings open is through layered mitigation – vaccines and boosters, well-fitting masks, testing and proper ventilation,” president Tina Williams said in a press release.

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