Local school systems revisiting decisions on masking

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The Waynesboro and Staunton school systems have decided to mandate masks for students and staff for the start of the school year that begins next week, citing rising cases and low vaccination rates locally.

The Augusta County School Board, which last week voted to make masks optional, will have an opportunity to revisit that decision tonight.

Local case numbers are at a level not seen since early June, from an analysis of data from the Virginia Department of Health, as the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations has been in decline the past two months, as the more contagious delta variant has taken hold in Virginia.

The number reported statewide today, 1,717, is the highest dating back to April 13.

Statewide, 60.7 percent of Virginians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 54.2 percent of the population fully vaccinated, still well below the 70 percent target set by health officials.

The Augusta County-Staunton-Waynesboro region trails significantly – with 52.3 percent of local residents having received at least one vaccine shot, and 48.4 percent fully vaccinated.

This as a new poll commissioned by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association released today tells us that 87 percent of those not already vaccinated say that they don’t plan to get vaccinated.

In other words, the end was near, and now is not.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press news
augusta free press news