ROANOKE, Va. – On Thursday, Virginia announced that all schools will have to require masks for everyone while inside school buildings.
Virginia’s State Health Commission Dr. Norm Oliver issued a public health order, requiring that “all individuals aged two and older to wear maks when indoors at public and private K-12 schools in order to inhibit spread of the virus, as recommended and described by the CDC.”
The order goes into effect Thursday and will remain until either the CDC guidance for K-12 schools changes or the health order is amended or ended.
While the order does apply to all individuals, it does include seven exceptions. Masks are not required while inside a school building at the following times:
- When eating, drinking or sleeping
- When exercising or using exercise equipment
- When playing a musical instrument that would be unplayable with a mask on (wind or brass) so long as 6 feet of physical distance can be maintainted from other persons
- Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance
- Anyone who has a disability or meets at-risk criteria or those assisting such persons, including individuals with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan under the Rehabilitation Act, where wearing a mask would inhibit communication or the receiving of services
- When necessary to participate in a religious ritual
- Persons with health conditions or disabilities that prohibit wearing a mask. Adaptations and alternatives for individuals with health conditions or disabilities should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a mask to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one.
The order also says that those who do not wear a mask due to a medical condition or a sincerely held religious object may request a reasonable accommodation.