On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their K-12 school mask recommendations in response to emerging data about the Delta variant. CDC recommends universal masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status.
On August 12, 2021, State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver issued a Public Health Order requiring all students, teachers, staff, and visitors in K-12 schools aged two years and older to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. All Virginia public and private K-12 schools (including PreK classrooms) must implement a requirement that students, teachers, and staff wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Please refer the Frequently Asked Questions for more information regarding this Public Health Order.
Schools should follow Interim Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Virginia PreK-12 Schools (UPDATED 10/14/21). This guidance emphasizes several key prevention strategies, including vaccination, masking, physical distancing, screening testing, ventilation, hand hygiene, cleaning, staying home when sick, and prompt contact tracing once any cases are identified. Of all available prevention strategies, vaccination, masking, and physical distancing should be prioritized.
VDH in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education has prepared some helpful resources to keep children healthy this school year, whether in-person or online. For additional information regarding recommendations and policies about COVID-19, immunizations, and other information including child well visits, routine oral health, and mental health resources for your child, visit VDH's Back to School Safety Guide webpage. COVID-19 resources for parents include:
- CDC Know What to Expect at your Child's K-12 School or Child Care Program
- VDH Guideline: When Should a Child Stay Home from School and/or Child Care? (9/15/21)
- VDH Guideline: When Should a Child Stay Home from School and/or Child Care? Infographics Only (9/15/21)
- VDH Algorithm for Evaluating a Child with COVID-19 Symptoms or Exposures (9/15/21)
- Contact Tracing Process for K-12 (8/6/21)
- VDH Isolation and Quarantine - What's the Difference Infographic (8/19/21)
- VDH When to End Isolation or Quarantine (10/28/21)
- Clarification of VDH K-12 Close Contact Definitions and Quarantine Periods (9/10/21)
- VDH COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ's
COVID-19 transmission may occur outside the school classroom. VDH offers additional resources to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during performing arts and sports activities:
VDH Guidance for K-12 Performing Arts (9/22/2021)
AAP Sports and Physical Activities Guidance (9/20/2021)