All Granville County Public Schools students and staff will be required to wear face coverings on all school property when school starts later this month, following a board of education decision made during its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 2.
The decision came following a presentation from Granville-Vance Public Health Director Lisa Harrison and GVHD Medical Director Dr. Shauna Guthrie about the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The new variant is more contagious and has caused a spike in hospitalizations – 97 percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. Citing guidance from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the health department officials recommended that GCPS follow the mask requirement while students, staff and visitors are indoors.
Masks must be worn except when students or staff are eating or drinking.
Masks will be provided free of charge to all students and staff as needed. The district has an ample supply of additional PPE, including gloves, gowns and face shields for staff which also are available upon request.
Individuals may apply for a mask exemption based on a medical condition or physical disability, according to Dr. Stan Winborne, GCPS associate superintendent and public information officer. Applications are available at each school and Winborne added that documentation verifying the condition must accompany the application.
Adults should remain six feet apart from others when possible, and students should maintain three feet of physical distancing and school staffs will continue regular and thorough cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and common areas will continue, Winborne said.
The board will revisit the topic at future meetings to determine if adjustments are needed, and the board will consider at its September meeting policies for visitors, volunteers and indoor facility rentals and indoor events or performances. Right now, none of these are allowed. The board is set to review each topic and adjust policies as needed, Winborne said.