Masks are strongly recommended, but not required in classrooms when classes resume Tuesday, Aug. 10.
The Patrick County School Board unanimously reached that decision during a special meeting Monday.
Masks will be required on school buses per a federal mandate, according to discussion at the meeting.
The board reached its decision after hearing comments from parents and others, encouraging a ‘mask optional’ alternative.
Brandon Simmons, board chairman, said the board is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He also noted that attendance is allowed at concerts, sporting events and the like.
“We can recommend masks” and be “doing what the CDC recommends,” said Simmons, of the Dan River District.
Walter Scott, of the Smith River District, asked that the motion include “strongly recommended, but not required” to the motion.
Amy Walker, of the Mayo River District, said comments she had from parents prompted her to “stand in agreement” with the motion.
Ryan Lawson, of the Peters Creek District, noted the division also is following mitigation measures issued by the CDC and other health agencies that include social distancing, daily cleaning of school facilities, and updates to all the heating and cooling (HVAC) and filtration systems.
“This is what we’re ready doing,” Lawson said. “I see no reason to change anything.”
Shannon Royal, of the Blue Ridge District, also agreed.