HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – As Cabell County students and staff headed into the classroom Friday, things looked a little different. That’s because all staff and students are now required to mask up.

Cabell County Schools currently have 135 positive cases of COVID-19 throughout the district. As a result of those cases, around 1,050 students are in quarantine.

After sharing those numbers, the school board voted unanimously to reverse the previous policy and make masks mandatory for all students and staff.

“Most students learn best by being in school, in person with their teachers, with their peers and we want to protect that,” said Cabell County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Ryan Saxe. “That’s really why this school mask mandate was imposed by the school district.”

Masks will be required in schools when Cabell County is in the orange or red on the DHHR map and optional when out of those high transmission zones.

“It’s really the best of both worlds,” said Saxe. “When we have that heightened transition rate in our community we’re going to have universal masks as a requirement, but when that spread starts decreasing and we get into more of a safer zone then masks can be optional at that time.”

While some aren’t happy with the decision, the district said they are going to protect in-person learning at all costs and so far it’s been a smooth transition.

“They are used to wearing masks based on how the spring sort of unfolded, so they have been wonderful this morning,” said Saxe. Everybody’s wearing their masks, everybody is still happy, and they are happy because they’re still at school.”

Starting next week the district will provide voluntary COVID screening tests for students and staff.

The district said they will also continue to provide vaccine clinics in the fall and encourage students and parents to get vaccinated.