No masks required in county schools now

by Kate Evans

Morgan County Schools is no longer requiring students and staff to wear face masks for any reason after Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Education lifted all mask mandates.

“Staff and students may wear a mask if they choose to do so, but no one is required to wear one at this time,” said school officials in a Tuesday, June 22 post on the county school website and Facebook page.

Summer camps are being held at Warm Springs Middle and Intermediate schools this month and next, so the change will affect students and staff participating in those camps.

School officials expressed gratitude “for your patience and understanding as we have navigated the pandemic together.”

The Morgan County School Board had earlier taken action on the mask mandate at their June 15 meeting when they approved Superintendent Kristen Tuttle’s recommendation to remove the requirement for students under third grade to wear face masks.

At that point in time, per the guidance of the Governor and the state Department of Education, masks were still required to be worn by all school staff and students in third grade and above on school property when not participating in physical activity and social distancing can’t be maintained. Masks were also to be worn on school buses at all times.

That mask guidance for schools came from Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Education and was in effect through June 20, awaiting the Governor’s promised action on the face mask requirements.  Governor Justice terminated the statewide indoor face mask requirements on June 20 — West Virginia Day.

According to his press release, face masks must still be worn in West Virginia where required by federal law.  Any private business or school system may still require individuals to wear face coverings.

No public decision has been announced about mask rules for students when they return to classrooms in late August.