With new COVID requirements issued for Virginia schools, Arlington goes one step further

There are new requirements for children and teachers returning to school in Virginia. 

On Thursday, Governor Northam issued a school mask mandate requiring everyone to wear masks inside school buildings. 

In Arlington, school officials went a step further and are mandating teachers get vaccinated.

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Both Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools announced that all county and school staff must be vaccinated or get tested weekly and as cases continue to rise due to the Delta Variant, it’s likely that we’ll see more states and school districts implement similar requirements.

Right now, Arlington Public Schools is one of the only districts to require teachers to be vaccinated, but FOX 5 has learned that other school districts in both Maryland and Virginia are considering it.  

In DC schools, students and staff will also be wearing masks because of the district-wide mandate. 

So far, no such measure exists statewide in Maryland but right now there’s a push for the General Assembly there to mandate teacher vaccinations. 

FOX 5 spoke to delegate Kirill Reznik of Montgomery County who says he supports the movement but adds it’s just not possible right now.

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"As a General Assembly, we cannot make them do anything in this case whether it’s vaccines or masks or anything else. we are neither in session or in a position to change," Del. Kirill Reznik said. "[I] think we should be requiring them to get the vaccine. If we don’t go that full step then we should do what Gov. Hogan said we should do with all state employees that work in congregate facilities, which is--get the vaccine or get tested weekly." 

DC’s State Athletic Association is also recommending students who play indoor sports do so while wearing a mask – regardless of vaccination status. 

Ultimately, the final decision there will be left up to individual schools. So as COVID cases rise, the more we go backward when it comes to masks and reopening.