Wednesday, March 29, 2023

York County School Division Makes Masks Optional for Staff and Visitors

York County School Division announced that it is rescinding the mandatory mask requirements for school employees and visitors. (WYDaily/File photo)

YORK COUNTY — In a week of sweeping changes to nationwide COVID-19 mitigation policy, York County School Division (YCSD) announced late Monday afternoon, Feb. 28, that masks are now optional for YCSD staff and visitors.

The policy change is effective immediately and comes after the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) released an update on the state standard which has certain employers maintain mask mandates for staff.

The new standard aligns with the one released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Feb. 25, which stated communities with low to medium COVID-19 numbers can lift mask requirements. York County is currently considered at a low level.

As a result of those changes, YCSD first extended the optional mask policy to students onboard division school buses and vans.

During the regular meeting of the YCSD School Board, the division’s Chief Operations Officer Dr. James Carroll updated the Board on the latest COVID-19 numbers and identified which mitigation policies would be scaled back as a result of the new guidance from the CDC and DOLI.

Carroll said that the division would scale back on frequent disinfecting of high touch surfaces, reduce the staggered use of communal spaces, and the reliance on cohorts as well as pods to assist with distancing. The latter change will be based on the principal’s discretion and on justifiable academic or supervisory purposes.

While the division may be relaxing some of its mitigation practices, YCSD will keep others in place, including continuing to limit indoor assemblies for students and for the general public.

The entire operations update as well as the entire school board meeting for YCSD can be viewed on the division’s YouTube channel.

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