When will face coverings be required? Who are required to wear face coverings and why are they being required?

updated Aug. 11

Who will be required to wear a face mask/covering in APS school buildings?
Anyone who enters an APS building, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face covering until further notice. This includes, but is not limited to, all APS students, families, staff, visitors, volunteers, contractors performing work, etc.

When will face coverings be required?
Face coverings must be worn at all times, indoors, with the exception of during the following activities:

  • Eating or drinking
  • During outside recess, PE or other outdoor recreational/extra-curricular activities
  • For team practices and games indoors, participants will wear masks while on the sidelines, but may remove them during play

For fully vaccinated staff, masks are optional when they are in a closed office setting independently working and there are no students present.

Why are masks being required?
Masks are part of a layered approach to safety as recommended by the Virginia Department of Health. We are requiring masks to keep schools open and safe for the start of the school year and to ensure every child has the opportunity to return to school safely. At the guidance of the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health, and legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly, masks will be required in APS buildings until further notice in order to protect students and staff. On July 27, the CDC recommended that everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of their vaccination status.

The APS approach to universal masking for the start of the school year aligns with CDC guidance, as well as the recommendations of local and state public health authorities.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal masking for everyone indoors at school, regardless of vaccination status.
  • The Virginia Department of Health advises that elementary schools should implement a requirement that students, teachers, and staff wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a continued focus on layered prevention strategies, including universal mask-wearing for all staff and students over the age of two.
  • Arlington County Public Health Division, in alignment with other regional health departments, recommends universal masking at the elementary level and in specific situations at the middle and high school level, in accordance with CDC recommendations.