COVID-19 Guidance Update

COVID-19 Guidance Update
Posted on 07/21/2021
HCPS LogoJuly 21, 2021 Update:

Dear Families, Faculty, and Staff,

We hope you are having a great summer. We are writing today with an update regarding new state COVID-19 guidance for the upcoming school year.

This afternoon, the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Health announced new guidance for schools, which serves as a series of recommendations for COVID-19 health and safety mitigation strategies. While the state is not extending its mask mandate for public schools, which expires on Sunday, July 25, mask recommendations are included in the updated guidance.

We are evaluating the new guidance to determine our potential mitigation measures for the upcoming school year, including masks. As always, we will be methodical in our approach, and we will communicate with you once we finalize our plans.

Thank you.

Original May 28 Message:

Dear Families, Faculty, and Staff,

We hope you have had a great week. We are writing today to address the latest COVID-19 directives that the state recently issued regarding mask requirements and capacity limits. We hope this will help to eliminate any uncertainty or confusion you may have.

Face masks on school property: indoors vs. outdoors

Since we wrote to you earlier this month, we have received updated guidance from the Virginia Department of Education regarding the Governor’s easement of mask-wearing measures for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Please note the following:

1. Indoors: All HCPS students, teachers, staff, and visitors, in accordance with the new guidance and Executive Order 79, must wear a mask over their nose and mouth when indoors on school property, even if they are fully vaccinated. This continues to be due to the low vaccination rates among children.

2. Outdoors: According to the updated state guidance, students, teachers, staff, and visitors who are fully vaccinated may remove their masks while outside on school property. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a mask while outside if they are unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from another person.

Please note that guidance from the Virginia High School League may differ slightly from the Virginia Department of Education guidelines in relation to participation in athletic competitions. If you have any questions, please contact your coach or athletic director.

As a reminder, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Capacity restrictions lifted

As part of the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the Governor has ended all capacity limits, including those for recreational sports, fine arts performances, and more. Effective immediately, attendance at our athletic events and fine arts performances, along with other school-related extracurricular activities, will no longer have a limit on the number of spectators.

Additionally, the Governor has removed all physical distancing requirements. We await guidance from the Virginia Department of Education on the impact this has for our schools. In the meantime, we will continue to follow the physical distancing protocols we have had in place this school year.

Please note that while capacity restrictions have been lifted, our plan for graduation - an indoor ceremony with four guests per graduate - remains in place. Please also note that it may not be possible for our schools to change pre-planned, end-of-year events due to the significant effort that has already been invested into coordinating them.

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We sincerely appreciate your continued patience, cooperation, and support as we navigate the ever-changing guidance and work hard to bring this school year to a successful conclusion. As always, we will continue to share any additional updates or changes that may be necessary.

Thank you.

Hanover County Public Schools
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