POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. -- Some students in Powhatan County, Virginia will be wearing masks in school on Monday and some will not.
While larger school districts like Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond have decided to leave masking policies in place despite Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin's executive order to give parents the choice, Powhatan has changed its policy to comply.
“I think this will be seamless. I don’t anticipate a big issue," Powhatan School Board Representative James Taylor said. "When it comes to the mask mandate and Executive Order Number Two, striking down masks and making everything optional, I think that’s what the people of Powhatan want.”
The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends children continue masking in school.
"Masking is one important tool in that toolkit in order to help keep kids in person in school," Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, said. "It's not enough to say if you feel sick, stay home. And it's possible that omicron can still spread in those one to two days before you develop symptoms or you don't develop symptoms at all."
Powhatan parent Sara Gilbert said she believed it should be up to parents to decide for their own children when it comes to masks in class.
“I think the issues will mainly arise from the parents. I don’t think the kids will really know the difference if the parents let it ride, and they treat it as a normal day, your kids will treat it as a normal day," she said.
Gilbert added if her child felt comfortable in a mask, she would let him wear one.
“The students that will be there not masked, are going to be right side by side with those who are masked and we’re going to track on has normal," Taylor said.
While masks will be optional, Taylor said the schools will continue with social distancing and deep cleaning.
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