LCPS Update on Masks for Start of 2021-22 School Year
Email from LCPS regarding an update on mask policy for 2021-22 school Year.
Dear LCPS Staff and Families,
I wanted to reach out to you today to share some important information about the Fall 2021 return to school plans for Loudoun County Public Schools.
As we return to school on August 26, LCPS will require all students and staff to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. Students at all grade levels may remove their masks when outside, eating or participating in physical education.
Please know this is not a decision I made lightly. Staff and I consulted Chapter 456 (formerly Senate Bill 1303) of the Virginia Code and local public health officials. We considered multiple data points, including community transmission rates, percent positivity rates, vaccination rates by age group and school-based data from the spring. We also reviewed guidance issued by the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Health.
Senate Bill 1303, which became enacted as Chapter 456 of the Code of Virginia requires schools to open for in-person instruction in the fall. This act also requires that school divisions comply with the CDC recommendations for elementary and secondary schools. Many in our community supported this bill last spring; however, the need for masking is driven by a primary concern for the health and safety of our students and staff.
Our desire to maximize in-person instruction remains at the forefront of this decision. Mask wearing will minimize the need for quarantining, thus keeping students in the classroom. We realize, however, that our desire for in-person learning is currently being challenged by rising community risk in Loudoun County and the potential impact of the Delta variant on students and our community. By addressing those factors under our control–like wearing masks and receiving the vaccine –we can Return Stronger Together despite changing conditions in Loudoun County. Visit ReturnToSchool2021 to learn about more mitigation measures, including mask-wearing, in all of our schools.
I thank you in advance for your compliance with this requirement and wish you a safe and healthy return to school.
Scott A. Ziegler, Ed.D.