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Gov. Ralph Northam Asks Students and Staffs to Wear Mask 

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has announced new requirements to be followed due to the spread of the contagious delta variant and recent guidelines from the CDC. Governor is asking all students and staff at K-12 schools to wear masks indoors whether they are vaccinated or not, based on recent CDC guidance.

Governor Ralph Northam said that School districts could face apparent legal action if they don’t follow the guidelines. He is not mandating masks via executive order but pointed to legislation passed this year. That requires schools in Virginia to have in-person learning five days a week and provide instruction in a manner that adheres, to the maximum extent practicable, to any currently applicable mitigation strategy to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that has been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Governor Ralph Northam said that this state guidance would seemingly override decisions previously made at the local level, and school districts who choose not to require masks could face legal action. However, the bill’s sponsor, Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant, disagreed with that interpretation.

The other major announcement on Thursday was that state employees would also be required to be vaccinated and show proof by Sept. 1. Employees who choose not to get vaccinated will have to be tested weekly. The move impacts about 122,000 employees. Northam says the number of state employees vaccinated mirrors numbers at the state level, with about 73% with at least one dose. The governor also encouraged private businesses and local governments to require vaccinations to help prevent the spread of the virus and serious illness and death.

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