Masks now optional in Fauquier County public schools for some activities

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased outdoor mask guidelines, and now one area school district is too.

As of Thursday, face coverings are optional for Fauquier County Public School students and staff while participating in outdoor activities like gym class, recess, labs, athletic practices, and events. They will still have to remain socially distant.

READ MORE: Virginia lifts outdoor mask mandate for vaccinated people who are alone or are in small settings

"I feel like now is the time when it’s right for our community," explained Executive Director of Student Services Frank Finn, who added that the decision was made partially because of new C.D.C. guidance as well as improved COVID metrics, talks with the county health department, and requests from parents. 

"This has been something that our community has been asking for for quite some time," Finn said.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

In other communities, however, it’s a bit of a different story. Fox 5 reached out to representatives of public school systems in Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties as well as D.C. None of them said they’ve made the exact same change as Fauquier, although some said athletes are allowed to remove masks while in a game.

In Warrenton Thursday night, most people said they support the new Fauquier County policy.

"I think it’s about time," Suzy Boyd said. "It’s long overdue."

"I think it’s a good idea," added Christina Clebinger. "I think most people were doing that anyways."

READ MORE: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces lifting of outdoor mask mandate, dining restrictions

Rosemarie Alequin took a different position. She has several grandchildren who attend Fauquier schools and said she can live with the change, however, it’s not her preference.

"I would prefer everyone to be in masks until everyone is vaccinated," she said.

To be clear, the new C.D.C. mask guidance applies to people who are already vaccinated, and the vast majority of Fauquier County students are not. An FCPS spokesperson said they did take that into account and the new guidance is just one of the factors that went into the district’s decision.