IWCS will transition to MASK-OPTIONAL on February 22 for all students and staff

On Wednesday, February 16, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed Senate Bill 739 into law. It removes all school mask requirements in Virginia no later than March 1, 2022. The division announced a transition to making masks optional beginning February 28 in order to give staff additional time to address the impact on quarantines and isolations. Since that announcement, we have resolved many of these matters and have established guidance for families and employees.
Beginning Tuesday, February 22, Isle of Wight County Schools will transition to a MASK-OPTIONAL learning environment for all students and staff in our buildings. We continue to strongly encourage mask wearing as a key strategy in our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community.
It is important to note that students will need to continue wearing masks on school buses.
As we transition to a mask-optional environment, several other procedures will be modified in response to the new practice.

Contact Tracing

On Tuesday, Jan. 25, the Virginia Department of Health announced a change in the approach to contact tracing. VDH is no longer conducting contact tracing in most circumstances, stating that “Omicron is now the most common COVID-19 variant and is spreading so quickly, it is not possible or fruitful to track every case.” VDH is now focusing efforts on the follow-up of outbreaks and cases in high risk settings, as well as promoting disease prevention and mitigation strategies.

  • Based on this change, and in collaboration with the Western Tidewater Health District, Isle of Wight County Public Schools will no longer conduct contact tracing for individual cases in our schools.


  • Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home for five days from the date of the positive test or onset of symptoms, whichever occurs first. They may return to school on day 6 if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and symptoms are improving. Those who return to school on day six must wear a well fitting mask for five days.  If parents do not want their child to wear a mask on days 6-10, they can choose to keep their child home for 10 days.


  • Students who are currently at home as a result of being identified as a close contact may return to school on Tuesday if they are asymptomatic and fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. Parents may also choose for their child to fulfill the entire quarantine period if they desire and communicate this with the school.

  • If a student learns they are a close contact to someone with COVID-19, no quarantine is required as long as they have no symptoms and are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.

  • Note: If your child is identified as being exposed to an outbreak, school staff will reach out with further guidance, which could include quarantine. The number of students exposed to an outbreak is typically small.

As a school division, we will continue to review and update our mitigation strategies to keep our staff and students safe and our schools open for the remainder of the school year. As always, thank you for your flexibility, support, and understanding as we navigate the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.