Brooke County Schools releases back-to-school guidelines with no mask mandate, but this could change

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BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) Brooke County Schools superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Crook released these guidelines for the upcoming school year:

Brooke County Schools has developed the following protocol based on guidance that has been received from the West Virginia Dept. of Education and through our ongoing collaboration with our COVID-19 taskforce, Brooke County Health Dept., nurses and other health care professionals.

Masks/Face Coverings

At this time, Brooke County Schools will not require masks for students or staff for the 2021-2022 school year.

However, masks are recommended by Brooke County Schools, the Center for Diseases Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Brooke County Health Dept.

It is at the parents’ discretion as to whether their students wear a mask. Moving forward, the decision to wear a mask may impact quarantine restrictions.

Disclaimer

Please note, masking requirements could change as we work collaboratively with the Brooke County Health Dept. to monitor COVID-19 data or if mandates are issued from the West Virginia Governor’s Office or West Virginia Dept. of Education.

Bus Riders

Masks are strongly encouraged while riding the bus. Bus Drivers will assign seats and load students from back to front.

When students are in school facilities

We encourage all students and staff to continue to practice proper coughing and sneezing hygiene. Large groups may be limited based on inside activities. Desk shields will be at the discretion of the classroom teacher. If a student needs a desk shield while in any class, one will be provided at their request. Brooke County Schools will continue to provide had sanitizer, masks and other safety items if needed by students or staff.

We ask that parents monitor their children for any illness symptoms and keep them home if they are ill. Brooke County Schools will continue to collaborating with the Brooke County Health Dept. and medical officials concerning the COVID-19 virus. School nurses are currently available in each school to facilitate and monitor all health and safety protocols to keep our staff and students safe.

We will continue to follow the “Key Mitigation for Schools” provided by the West Virginia Dept. of Education:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette
  • Evaluate large gatherings outside of classroom/core groups
  • Social distancing
  • Face coverings are optional – we do reserve the discretion to require masks if we have a significant outbreak, and it necessitates the use of an additional layer of safety
  • Contact tracing in collaboration with local health depts.

We strive to make all schools safe and secure while maintaining in-person learning five days a week.

Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Crook applauded Brooke families for adapting with them over the past year and a half, and as the COVID situation continues to change day by day.

I mean, kids are so resilient. Whatever we had to do, they were right there with us, so it’s great to see parents were with us, we had a lot of support during that time.

Dr. Jeffrey Crook, Brooke County Schools Superintendent

Dr. Crook tells 7news the district waited to announce the policy in case the state had other plans.

He says he can’t wait for activities like athletics and marching band to come back and make for a more normal fall semester for students and staff.

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