Cavalier community responds to updated masking guidance


Sarah Craft

The Cav Man decides to keep his mask on, even though it is now optional for students in the building.

Since the return of students after winter break, Chesterfield County Public Schools have experienced an increase in positive COVID-19 cases. Despite the rise in cases, and with the new governor, Glenn Youngkin, coming into office, the county has begun to change public schools’ regulations involving the virus. 

In the beginning of Jan., the school board reaffirmed their decision from the beginning of the year to keep public schools in-person despite the spread of the virus. Senior Sanjana Dasari believes that keeping schools in-person was not a wise decision.

“I think if we did hybrid learning it would be the best of both worlds,” Dasari said. “Honestly, with cases getting this bad, I think virtual school may be the best option.”

Clover Hill has prioritized the safety of their students by establishing protocols for in-person school in order to track and prevent the spread of Covid-19. Junior Jacob Marshall approves of these regulations, but he believes that there should be changes made in order to better prevent people from getting sick. 

“Last year, one of the things that they implemented was stickers on the floors for one-way hallways,” Marshall said.“That meant that there weren’t too many people walking into each other and getting face-to-face in the hallways.”

On Jan. 20, 2022, the school board released the decision to keep the mask mandate despite Youngkin’s second executive order. In Youngkin’s Executive Order Number Two, the governor dispelled the mask mandate, leaving the decision to the people.

“In light of the variety of circumstances confronted by students in the Commonwealth, parents should have the ability to decide whether their child should wear masks for the duration of the school day” (Gov. Youngkin Executive Order 2).

The mask mandate was then changed to align with Youngkin’s executive order on Jan. 25, 2022, and took effect in Chesterfield County on Jan. 27, 2022. Government teacher Rebekah Amato believes that even with the evolving regulations, the community will prevail.

“Whatever the policy is, the students will roll with it,” Amato said.

Amato also notes that while this new policy has changed the base regulations on masks, students in Chesterfield County have always had an option to not wear one.

“There’s been an option all year that students can be opted out of wearing a mask,” Amato said.“Their parents just have to sign them up for it, and, as far as I know, those forms are in the main office.”

Some students believe that by getting rid of the mandate, the school will see an outbreak of cases. Marshall feels that the absence of masks present a risk to in-person learning. 

“I think that cases will skyrocket, and I think that we might end up going back online because of it because it’s just too much of a risk.”

Regardless of whether or not masks are mandatory, many students are now getting their booster, the third installment of the Covid-19 vaccine. Universities such as Virginia Tech and VCU are now making it mandatory that incoming students have the vaccine and booster as part of their immunization records. Dasari is in support of public schools following this trend within the next few years.

“The vaccine has been proven to help lessen the effects of the disease. It should be treated the same as the flu vaccine,” Dasari said.

Marshall also sees benefits in making the vaccine mandatory in the foreseeable future to better protect the community.

“If we do not have herd immunity [within the next few years], then we should work towards it.”

Depending on the status of the pandemic, the policies revolving around COVID-19 and schools are subject to change. To stay informed on Chesterfield County’s regulations, follow the link attached to see updates on any upcoming meetings or recent decisions made by the school board: