Loudoun County health officials encourage everyone involved in the care and education of children to utilize multiple prevention strategies to protect young people from COVID-19 while they are attending school in person this fall.
“We learned during the last school year how important in-person education is for so many of our children, so we want to focus on keeping the schools safe learning environments,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend. “If we all work together and use a layered approach to prevention, we increase the ability of our schools to remain open safely and minimize disruptions in our children’s education.”
Dr. Goodfriend says the current high level of community transmission of the coronavirus, the continued spread of the Delta variant and the fact that children under 12 are not vaccinated heighten the need to maintain multiple prevention strategies in public and private schools, particularly in elementary schools where children are not yet eligible for vaccination.
Health official recommend all parents and children follow the prevention strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Education, which include:
- Vaccinating everyone 12 and older: Vaccination is the leading prevention strategy to keep schools operating safely and to bring the pandemic to an end. (Visit loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine to fine vaccine providers near you.)
- Using masks consistently and correctly: Wearing masks consistently and correctly is especially important indoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained and also critical for younger elementary school students, who are not old enough to be vaccinated.
- Physical distancing: If students are wearing masks correctly, a safe minimum distance between students is 3 feet apart; otherwise, the distance is 6 feet.
- Handwashing: Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick from a variety of illnesses. If soap and water are not readily available, substitute alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Staying home when sick: Keeping children home if they are sick is important to help keep the community safe and healthy. In addition to COVID-19, other illnesses such as a cold or the flu can easily be passed on to other students.
- Getting tested if sick or if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19: Regardless of vaccination status, anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and a new loss of taste or smell should be tested along with anyone who has potentially been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Information about testing locations is online at loudoun.gov/covid19testing.
For additional information about COVID-19, visit loudoun.gov/coronavirus, call the Health Department's information line at 703-737-8300, or send an email to the Health Department.
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