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Masks are required on school buses due to federal mask mandate for public transportation

ROANOKE  County– The students and staff of Roanoke County Public Schools will not be required to wear a mask indoors when the 2021-2022 school year begins on August 12.

Roanoke County Public Schools will comply with all federal and state mandates regarding mask wearing and did so this past school year and throughout the summer under orders from the governor and the state health commissioner.  The governor and the state health commissioner have decided to not mandate mask wearing in schools for the coming school year, but currently have left it as a recommendation.

At this time, the school board does not plan to make any additional requirements above state and federal requirements regarding mask wearing for the coming school year.  Federal transportation requirements do currently mandate mask wearing on public transportation, including school buses. Masks will, therefore, be required on RCPS school buses as long as the federal mandate is in effect.

Cooperation with the regional health department for contact tracing and quarantining will continue and face masks, though optional, are encouraged, for unvaccinated individuals. Absent a mandate, students’ choice about mask wearing (or not) will be fully supported within the school environment. In the event that conditions change and in-person learning becomes significantly impacted for large numbers of students, additional mitigation strategies and requirements will be considered by the school board.

Continued mitigation strategies in place include increased air flow for indoor spaces in accordance with CDC guidelines, encouraging students and staff to stay home if symptomatic, contact tracing, continued enhanced cleaning, and observance of three-feet distancing when possible within the classroom with all students present. For additional details, please refer to the RCPS district health plan, which can be found at www.rcps.us/21-22 (click on health and safety).