School system letter addresses implementation of governor’s Executive Order No. 2

School system letter addresses implementation of governor’s Executive Order No. 2

To: Parents & Guardians of Pulaski County Public Schools Students

From: Dr. Kevin Siers, Division Superintendent

Re: Implementation of Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order #2

Date: January 21, 2022

The Pulaski County School Board voted on January 18, 2022 to fully implement Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order #2 which leaves the decision about wearing a mask during the school day up to each parent beginning Monday, January 24, 2022. Students will still be required to properly wear a mask on school buses in accordance with Security Directive 1582/84-21-01B from the

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Provided below is information that we ask our parents to consider when making the decision about how to advise your child.

Current Status of Covid in our Area-

  • Southwest Virginia is seeing higher levels of COVID-19 transmission than at any time during the pandemic.
  • The Omicron variant is extremely contagious, resulting in about 10 transmitted cases from every case.
  • More children are being hospitalized with Covid than at any point during the pandemic.
  • We expect the growth of Omicron cases to peak within the next few weeks.

How You Can Help Us Prevent Outbreaks that Might Cause School Closures-

  • Advise your child to continue masking in school for at least the next two to three weeks. Medical grade masks (surgical or N95) offer the most protection but all masks provide some degree of prevention with the spread of COVID.
  • Consider having your child vaccinated if this has not yet occurred.
  • Keep your child at home whenever Covid symptoms are present. We will continue to work with families to consider these as individual remote learning days so as not to impact the student’s attendance record.
  • Consider testing your child whenever symptoms are present. The US government is now providing four free rapid home tests per household. These can be ordered at https://www.covidtests.gov/ .
  • Continue to quarantine unvaccinated children after an exposure to someone who has tested positive.

How EO#2 Will Be Implemented within PCPS-

  • The parents’ decision about whether a student will wear masks or not should be communicated by the parent to the student. It will be the student’s responsibility to comply with their parents’ expectation. School staff will not be able to enforce individual wishes for each family although we can offer reminders to students in lower elementary grades if requested.
  • The harassment or bullying of students for wearing or not wearing masks will not be tolerated and disciplinary consequences will be applied. Please contact the principal of your child’s school if you have reason to believe that this is occurring.
  • Students will continue to wear masks at all times on school buses. This includes trips to & from school, field trips, and for extracurricular travel. Students will lose the privilege of transportation services for failure to comply with this expectation.

Please know that Pulaski County Public Schools is dedicated to the principle that each student will have a safe and positive educational experience within our schools. We understand the numerous concerns that have been expressed over the past week and will do everything within our power to ensure that our facilities maintain a high standard of cleanliness, our students remain respectful of each other, and that we address all areas of Covid response in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education, and the Office of the Governor. Although we move forward cautiously, we are also confident about our success in taking this step back to normalcy.

Thank you.