Fairfax Co. schools to keep mask mandate for now

The superintendent of the Fairfax County, Virginia, public schools said the school mask mandate will be lifted March 1 in accordance with a new law, but remains in place for now.

Scott Brabrand said in a letter to families and staff that “We recognize our legal obligations” under SB739, the ban on school mask mandates passed by the General Assembly this month and signed into law by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

The law gives school systems until March 1 to comply, and Brabrand said the system would continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention until then. The CDC recommends universal masking in K-12 educational settings.

“We anticipate that the CDC may update public health guidance early next week. We will share updates as we receive them,” Brabrand said.

But until then, or until March 1, Brabrand said, “Please be aware that we are currently still in high transmission” as defined by the CDC, “and all of our layered prevention strategies, including universal masking, remain in place.”

In a statement, Kimberly Adams, president of the Fairfax Education Association that represents over 4,000 school employees, said: “We still remain concerned but are hopeful that by March 1 our COVID positivity rates and case counts continue to drop. There are still many anxious staff and parents of immunocompromised students. There are staff who also want to have added protections in place such as better air purification and higher quality masks.”

Several school systems are lifting their mask mandates early.

Loudoun County, for example, announced hours after Youngkin signed the bill that they would lift their mask mandate Feb. 22. However, a ruling by Circuit Court Judge James Fisher immediately barred the county’s public school system from enforcing its mask mandate.

Arlington County will leave their mask mandate in place until March 1. Prince William County said they would announce an update to their policy later Friday.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up