If mask order is lifted for schools, Chesapeake students, staff may not have to wear face coverings

Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The Chesapeake School Board has taken a step toward lifting the mask mandate for students and staff at Chesapeake Public Schools.

According to Chesapeake Public Schools spokesman Christopher H. Vail, the board on Monday night voted to remove the mask mandate on school grounds so long as Executive Order 79 — the mask mandate — expires or is rescinded by Gov. Ralph Northam.

If the order is no longer in effect, masks would be optional for all students and staff.

However, Chesapeake Public Schools will follow Executive Order 79 as long as it’s still in effect, Vail said.

That order, which also governs whether masks are required in schools, could expire June 30.

The school board’s decision was made after numerous family members and some students spoke publicly during the meeting. Some spoke in favor of removing masks, while others urged the school division to keep masks or communicate its plan for maintaining safety next year. Some also discussed whether vaccines should be mandated or not.

The move by Chesapeake school officials comes after Northam eased COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

In mid-May, Northam announced the universal mask mandate was lifted. Those who are vaccinated do not need to wear a mask in most situations. That mirrors the latest guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Northam has still required most people in schools to wear masks in most situations, however, because many children still aren’t vaccinated against the coronavirus. Currently only the Pfizer vaccine is approved to children 12 and older.

Businesses can still require masks or proof of vaccination status.

Virginia currently still requires fully vaccinated people to wear masks on public transportation, at health care and correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.

To watch the full meeting, click here.

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