NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. – Local health officials are encouraging optional masking in schools as COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to steadily decline.
In the New River Valley, 20 districts made the move and saw no change in the curves.
Health officials say cloth masks don’t protect people against the omicron variant and that medical or N95 masks aren’t realistic for kids to wear for long periods of time.
“I think the biggest thing is that it’s a personal choice and people should not be shamed or blamed either way,” Director of New River Health District Dr. Noelle Bissell says. “We need to move to that step of individual choice and protection.”
In the last two weeks, the U.S. infection rate has dropped 64% and about 50% in the New River Valley, according to health leaders.