GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — After a lengthy monthly meeting on Tuesday night, the Gloucester County School Board failed to reach a decision about the district’s mask mandate for the fall semester.
Superintendent Walter R. Clemons, Ph.D. made the recommendation to make masks universally mandated inside, regardless of vaccine status. His recommendation also included a mask mandate on school buses.
The mask mandate on school buses is in accordance with federal requirements.
He also added that under his recommendation, masks would not be mandated outside.
“If the purpose of the school division is to have students in school five days a week, with uninterrupted instruction, with the least amount of time that would be spent by students having to go home for quarantine, masking helps you do that,” said Dr. Clemons.
The recommendation was immediately met with pushback, including by school board member Darren Post
“I move that the school board of Gloucester County completely and utterly reject the Superintendent’s recommendation for a mask mandate and allow parents and teachers to decide what’s best for themselves and their families in respect to masking,” said Post.
The move received a second by board member, Troy Anderson.
However, the board continued to have conversations around what each member thought was best.
“The only thing that comes before academics is safety,” added board member, George (Randy) Burak. “We have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for every student who walks through the doors.”
Dr. Clemons said the board will discuss the topic again on August 19 and expects a decision to be made then.
The school year is set to being on August 30.