Franklin County School Board votes to require documentation for mask exemptions among students, staff


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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — With more than 300 positive coronavirus cases and more than 2,100 quarantines reported among students and staff at Franklin County Public Schools since mid-August, school officials decided Monday night to ramp up mask requirements.

On Monday, Sept. 13, members of the Franklin County School Board voted to require universal masking for all PreK-12 students, staff, and visitors in school buildings and on buses regardless of vaccination status. In addition, documentation will be mandatory for any mask exemptions, including for those who are not wearing masks because of religious reasons or health conditions.

“The mask requirement applies unless a person requests a ‘reasonable accommodation’ for medical or religious reasons,” states the Franklin County School Board’s mask policy presentation from Monday night. “A reasonable accommodation may be conditioned on the employee providing written evidence that the accommodation is required. In the health context, that documentation would generally be a written report from a physician stating that the person has a medical condition that prohibits or limits mask-wearing.”

If you want to access the religious and medical exemption forms for students and staff at Franklin County Public Schools, follow the links below:

The school board says the forms for mask exemptions will be available on the district website and as paper versions at school offices. However, according to Monday night’s vote on the amended proposal, these forms need to be submitted by Sept. 20 to the student’s building principal or to the staff member’s supervisor.

If the school does not receive and approve a mask exemption form, the presentation says the student will be expected to wear a mask starting on Sept. 28. This includes students who requested a religious or medical exemption at an earlier date.

This news comes as Franklin County school officials reported a total of 330 positive coronavirus cases and 2,131 student quarantines — as well as 44 staff cases and 45 staff quarantines — between Aug. 11 and Sept. 9. You can read the full data breakdown included in Monday’s school board presentation below:

  • Week 1: Aug. 11 to Aug. 14
    • Nine positive student cases and 60 students under quarantine
    • Three positive staff cases and five staff members under quarantine
  • Week 2: Aug. 15 to Aug. 21
    • 42 positive student cases and 307 students under quarantine
    • Three positive staff cases and six staff members under quarantine
  • Week 3: Aug. 22 to Aug. 28
    • 77 positive student cases and 848 students under quarantine
    • 11 positive staff cases and 12 staff members under quarantine
  • Week 4: Aug. 29 to Sept. 4
    • 126 positive student cases and 642 students under quarantine
    • 17 positive staff cases and 13 staff members under quarantine
  • Week 5: Sept. 5 to Sept. 9
    • 76 positive student cases and 274 students under quarantine
    • 10 positive staff cases and nine staff members under quarantine

You can watch the full recording of Monday night’s Franklin County School Board meeting by clicking here.

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