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Alexandria City Public Schools announces special meeting to discuss mask requirements

Masks have been an ever-present feature of schools since students returned to in-person learning last year, but new state legislation is forcing Alexandria City Public Schools to prepare for mask-less students and faculty.

A new meeting announced via email indicates the Alexandria City School Board will be taking up the discussion of the current mask requirement.

“At its upcoming special called school board meeting on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, the Alexandria City School Board will discuss the current mask requirement, which is one of several mitigation measures put in place to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” ACPS announced in an email. “The staff has been actively planning for when masks will become optional. Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff in our school division.”

The announcement comes after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed new legislation requiring that masks be optional in public schools. The bill is effective immediately but schools have until March 1 to comply. Covid figures are also on the decline in Alexandria.

“We are working on a transition plan for when we get to the point that masks are, in fact, optional for our families,” Julie Crawford, ACPS chief of student services and equity, said in a School Board meeting last week. “We want to make sure we have a clear plan laid out and we thought through all the different scenarios.”

James Cullum contributed to this story