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FCPS To Update Outdoor Mask Protocols

April 28, 2021

Effective April 29, 2021, Fauquier County Public Schools will make face coverings for students and staff optional while participating in outdoor activities such as PE, recess, labs, athletic practices and events. FCPS students and staff will continue to maintain social distancing outside and should avoid congregating in large groups.  The FCPS mask protocol revisions follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lead, which eased its outdoor mask guidelines Tuesday.

“Our metrics have improved to the extent that our principals and school board are comfortable relaxing outdoor masking requirements,” said Superintendent Dr. David Jeck.

FCPS will continue to require all staff members, visitors, and students to wear cloth or disposable face masks at all times indoors, except while eating or drinking. School officials believe that strict adherence to all health mitigations, including mask wearing, will continue to be essential to maintaining in-person learning.  Consistent implementation of these protocols across all schools will remain a priority.

“We took a bold approach and brought students back into our schools early on in a hybrid model. Most recently, we brought all students back four days per week, beginning in March. These were bold steps considering we took them long before most of our neighbors did,” Jeck said. “But, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In our case, it meant taking a very conservative approach to mitigations, especially mask wearing. I make no apologies for this especially considering that positive cases among our 10,000 students are minuscule, especially for elementary students.” 

FCPS will review the protocol for face coverings at regular intervals and may choose to modify the current requirements based on new credible guidance on COVID-19 health mitigation strategies. 

Revised FCPS Face Mask Protocol effective April 29, 2021:

Fauquier County Public Schools (FCPS) requires all staff members, visitors, and students to wear cloth or disposable face masks at all times indoors, except while eating or drinking. This includes any FCPS workplace, school buildings, and entering, exiting, and riding the school bus.

Face coverings are optional for students and staff while participating in any activity outdoors as long as a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing is maintained.*

FCPS does not permit wearing gaiters, scarves or bandanas in place of cloth or disposable masks.

FCPS will allow the wearing of face shields by students only with documented breathing difficulties or students with behavioral difficulties (ex. students with sensory issues who are identified on the autism spectrum.)  The principal has the authority to approve the option to wear a face shield based on the criteria described above. Any FCPS staff member who does not feel they can wear a mask must obtain approval from Human Resources.

FCPS will review the protocol for face coverings at regular intervals and may choose to modify the current requirements based on new credible guidance on COVID-19 health mitigation strategies.

Any exceptions to the wearing of face masks must be approved by the principal and meet established FCPS health mitigation requirements.

*Reminder: The CDC is still recommending masks for some outdoor activities and particularly for those who are unvaccinated.