Liz McCormick Published

W.Va. Schools Will Soon Receive Back-To-School Mask Guidance

Children at school

The West Virginia Department of Education will hold a press conference Wednesday to address back-to-school guidance for all 55 county school districts.

Across the country and in West Virginia, parents and teachers are asking whether kids under 12 should be masked in schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance last week recommending “universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of [COVID-19] vaccination status.”

Some districts in West Virginia are considering it, others are waiting for state guidance and one has already made a decision.

On Monday, the Kanawha County Board of Education passed new guidelines that will require students in pre-K through 5th grade to mask-up this fall. However, the board said students in 6th through 12th grade will have the option to go without.

This news comes as the Delta variant of COVID-19 surges throughout the country. Health officials say it is much more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19.

Some school districts in West Virginia, such as Monongalia, Ohio, Mercer and Putnam, are also considering requiring masks this fall. Most, however, are waiting to hear what state officials have to say.

The WVDE announced Tuesday that State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch, West Virginia Board of Education Vice President Tom Campbell and West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission Executive Director Bernie Dolan will hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon to provide guidance for districts as well as be available to the media.

Meanwhile, there has been some pushback around the state from parents who are opposed to their children wearing masks this fall. Some point to breathing or verbal communication concerns, and others even point to mask-wearing as child abuse.