PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Putnam County Schools will require all students and employees to wear masks for indoor activities and on busses beginning Friday, Aug. 20 regardless of vaccination status.
The school system says local health officials recommended this requirement and it will remain in effect for 30 days. At the end of the 30-day period, health officials will reevaluate the situation to see if the schools need to continue having students and employees wear masks.
According to Putnam County Schools, the decision was based on the substantial and high transmission rates in the area as well as health officials monitoring the volumes of patients at local hospitals. Yesterday, the state reported more than 400 West Virginians were hospitalized for COVID-19 with that number rising to 421 today. The state had previously not reported more than 400 current hospitalizations since Feb. 2, 2021.
“Putnam County Schools is hopeful that this requirement is only temporary and will result in limited positive cases in the school system and, therefore, reduce the number of students/staff positive for COVID-19 and those required to quarantine,” the school system released in a statement.
School officials say the mask requirement applies to indoor settings and local health officials indicated that it does not include outdoor sporting activities or outdoor events during the school day when maximum social distancing is possible.