WINFIELD, W.Va. — Students in Putnam County Schools will not be required to wear a mask when returning to in-person learning this month despite a rise in COVID-19 cases.
“We have no masking mandate; however, we are sharing the CDC recommendations,” said John Hudson, superintendent of Putnam County Schools.
The school district issued new guidance on Monday for the upcoming school year which begins Aug. 24th.
“We will continue with our cleaning, disinfection, hand washing, social distancing to the greatest extent possible and of course contract tracing,” Hudson said of the guidance.
The announcement comes after state education leaders decided last week to leave COVID guideline updates to local school districts. Nearby Kananwha County is requiring masks for elementary school students in grades PK-5.
Face masks in Putnam County are recommended on school buses. Hand sanitizing stations will be provided on each bus and seating charts will be required.
The school system will work with local and state health officials to update their guidelines if necessary.
“If there is a need for any change at any school regarding mask wearing or any other mitigation measure, we will most definitely follow any directives that is issued by our health community,” Hudson said.
Students who have been vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Hudson said the school district is encouraging more students and staff to get vaccinated.
Classes will be in-person this year with very little virtual learning.
The goal is to create a comfortable and clean environment where students can feel safe against the virus, Hudson said.
“We want them to know that in our buildings, they are going to face teaching and learning in a nearly as normal way as possible,” he said.