Virginia governor recommending masks in schools, stops short of mandate

Virginia governor recommending masks in schools, stops short of mandate
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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) administration is recommending children and adults wear masks in schools, but is not mandating them.

In a 14-page document released by the Virginia Department of Health on Wednesday, the agency detailed ways to keep schools safe as they prepare to reopen for the next school year.

The department wants masks to be worn at all times in elementary schools until children are eligible for the vaccine. Middle schools and high schools should have a minimum requirement for unvaccinated students and faculty to wear masks indoors. 

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A press release from the governor says the approach allows local communities and schools to implement rules “based on community level conditions and public health recommendations,” The Associated Press reported

Along with masks, the state government recommends schools heavily promote vaccines, maintain social distancing and conduct frequent testing.

“Getting your shot will protect you, your family, and your community — and it is the only way we can beat this pandemic once and for all,” Northam said. 

Vaccinations are only approved in the U.S. for those aged 12 or older. Vaccine makers are in the process of getting the vaccine approved for younger children.