COVID Protocols

Current Health and Safety Practices
  • Face masks required to be worn by students and staff indoors on school property
  • Face masks required to be worn on school buses
  • Air filtration units (HEPA 13) in every classroom
  • All air handlers set for maximum allowable air circulation
  • 3 feet required at mealtimes

2021-2022 Health and Safety Plan (updated February 17, 2022)

MCPS American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Plan

Quarantine Guidance from New River Health District  (updated 1/25/2022)

VDH - Evaluating a Child With COVID Symptoms

Testing Opportunities & Masking Info (from NRHD, 1/19/2022)

COVID Data for 2021-2022

February 18, 2022

Monday, February 21, is a holiday. Schools and offices will be closed.

Our updated Health and Safety Plan is now available online. The only change in our mitigation strategy is that masking will be optional for students starting February 22, 2022. Please communicate with your child about your masking preference. Masks will be available at the school for those who want to use them.  

  • Air purifiers will still be available in classrooms. 
  • School HVAC units will still stay with the maximum outside air. 
  • Outside lunch will continue to be offered. 
  • Physical distancing will continue in buildings and at lunch, per current guidance from VDH and VDOE. 
  • Our illness policy remains the same - students who demonstrate signs of illness (fever, diarrhea, vomiting) will be sent home. 
  • Masks are still required on buses until March 18. 

Students will not be segregated, grouped, or sorted by masking choice. 

VA Code 22.1-2.1 states, “No student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of this parental election.” 

VDH states, “There is no medical reason for a vaccinated and/or masked teacher to treat an otherwise healthy unmasked student any differently than a healthy masked student.”

For bus riders, face masks will be required while on the school bus due to the CDC order expected to expire in March. We have a large supply of masks, but that supply may quickly dwindle if every bus rider whose parents have opted them out of masking got a new mask on the way to school and a second new mask on the way home. If your bus rider is choosing not to mask at school, please work with them to determine a place to keep their mask while at school so that we are not wasteful.

Thank you for your time before a long weekend. 

February 16, 2022 (2)

This afternoon, Governor Youngkin signed SB739 into law. This law states that parents may elect for students to not wear a mask while on school property and that school divisions must comply with the new law by March 1, 2022. 

The MCPS team started working on an implementation plan for optional masking today. Face masks will be optional for students beginning Tuesday, February 22, 2022. A reminder - Monday is a holiday. 

No student will be treated differently based on their masking preference. 

An edited version of our Health and Safety Plan will be available before the end of the week. We anticipate minimal changes to other mitigation strategies. Air purifiers will still be available in classrooms. School HVAC units will still stay with the maximum outside air. Physical distancing will continue to occur in buildings and at lunch, in accordance with current guidance from VDH and VDOE. 

Again, masking for students will be optional beginning Tuesday, February 22. We expect that masking for staff will be optional beginning Friday, March 18. 

February 16, 2022
Last night, the School Board voted on masking in three parts - face masks for students, face masks for staff, and face masks for anyone on a school bus. This email is meant to provide you with an update on these changes and information on how MCPS will move forward.  At no point will masks be removed without notice or in the middle of a school day. 

Students: The School Board directed the superintendent to create a plan to implement optional masking for students once the state law regarding this has changed. Students who wish to mask will still be able to. 

Staff: The School Board directed that masks would become optional for staff members as the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry guidance changes. When changes go into effect, we will communicate to staff and families about making face masks optional for staff members. Staff members who wish to mask will still be able to. 

School Buses: Currently, masks are required on school buses as part of federal regulations for public transportation. That regulation is expected to expire on March 18. If it does, MCPS will follow guidance related to masking on school property (see the two paragraphs above). Students and staff members who wish to mask will still be able to do so. 

Dr. Bissell provided information last night related to the effectiveness of masking. You can watch the video here. Air purifiers will stay in classrooms. Surgical masks will continue to be provided at building entrances as they are available. 

State law regarding masks is changing, and we, as a school division, will follow the state law. Families will be able to make personal choices about whether they want their children to mask at school. This change will naturally create a lot of anxiety for some families and staff members. At the same time, some families and staff members will be relieved. We honor and validate all of these feelings. We will continue to provide information to you about these changes and timelines for implementation. 

January 21, 2022

The School Board voted last night to continue masking in MCPS per state law. All students, staff members, and visitors will continue to wear face masks in school buildings and on school buses. This is not a change but continuing the requirements already in place. 

MCPS students and staff wear masks as part of a layered strategy to help prevent COVID transmission. The General Assembly adopted Chapter 456 (often referred to as SB1303) on March 30, 2021, directing school boards to offer and prioritize in-person instruction. It also requires school boards to adhere to mitigation procedures, like mask-wearing, to the extent practicable as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). To comply with this legislation, masks must be worn by students, staff, and visitors in MCPS facilities. Federal law requires the use of masks while on school buses. 

The School Board and the administration will continue to work with the health department to monitor COVID cases in our area. 

January 17, 2022

Over the weekend, Governor Youngkin issued an executive order related to the wearing of face masks in public schools. MCPS is aware of the order and is working with the New River Health District to determine the impact on our local schools. A few key items to know: 


  • The announcement from the Governor is NOT effective until January 24, 2022.
  • The Governor has directed the Superintendent of Public Instruction to issue guidance to school divisions.
  • MCPS will review all new guidelines (when they are made available) and communicate an update to staff and families on Jan. 23, 2022 (earlier if possible, but no later than Jan. 23, 2022).

In the meantime, MCPS will continue its current COVID mitigation plans, which include wearing a mask at all times while in a school building or on the bus. The School Board has moved their meeting to Thursday, January 20, and will discuss COVID guidelines at this time. 

We will review the guidance from the Superintendent of Public Instruction (as the Superintendent of Public Instruction is directed by the Governor to issue such guidance). In addition, the school division will review the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s guidance as it relates to other state and federal guidelines, including:


  • Virginia Occupational Safety and Health COVID-19 workplace standards
  • Senate Bill 1303, which remains in effect through Aug. 1, 2022, stating in-person instruction must be offered and any currently applicable mitigation strategies provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must be followed
  •  Occupational Safety and Health Administration workplace guidelines
  •  A federal public health order requiring individuals to wear a mask when using public transportation, including school buses

The school division will review all new guidelines (when they are made available) and communicate an update to staff and families on Jan. 23, 2022 (earlier if possible, but no later than Jan. 23, 2022).

November 9, 2021

Starting Monday, November 29, MCPS will offer a free and optional COVID-19 Testing Program for students at Montgomery County Public Schools, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health.

There is a consent and registration processes for the screening testing program. You can pre-register through Primary Health’s platform for the screening program:

covid testing

August 4, 2021

Face masks will be required of students and staff at MCPS as we start school this year. Face masks will be required on school buses. The School Board will discuss this again at their September 7 meeting where they will re-evaluate local health data. 

Masks Required
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