The School Board has received a number of messages from concerned parents related to their children overheating during recess/PE since they are being required to wear masks outside. I spoke to several of our state legislators on this topic. Thank you to Senator DeSteph for trying to bring some logic to these very valid health concerns brought to us by parents. I believe the Governor NEEDS to relax the mandate, especially for our children!
The response from School Board leadership has been:
Governor Northam's most recent edition (#6) of Executive Order 72 eases restrictions in a number of areas, some of which impact school operations. These include increasing the number of spectators allowed in indoor and outdoor events, reducing physical distancing requirements (graduation), and easing restrictions on who must wear a face covering (two weeks after full vaccination) and in what settings (outdoors, with immediate family or others who are fully vaccinated). Unfortunately, the face covering adjustments do not include schools per se.
With regard to the question of face coverings and PE or Recess now that the weather has grown warmer, districtwide requirements remain that all students and staff must wear a face covering when outside--but may “relax” wearing of a mask when 6’ distancing can be maintained. Any student or staff member may pull down or remove their face covering for a short period as long as they are at least 6’ from anyone else. Administration has observed that keeping kids away from each other for any extended period when playing in Recess or PE is problematic. Our students and staff have learned in general how to make these restrictions work for them. With only six weeks left in the school year, division leadership does not deem it prudent to make any further adjustments to any of our health and safety mitigations. The rationale in short is that these mitigations are working, as evidenced by our weekly COVID data.