State Watch

Most Virginia school districts disobeying Youngkin on order making masks optional: report

A majority of Virginia public school districts are flouting Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) executive order that makes wearing masks optional for children in the state’s schools, according to The Washington Post.

In an analysis, the newspaper found that two days after the order took effect, 53 percent of the state’s school districts are still requiring masks for all students, comprising 67 percent of the state’s public school student population.

The Post noted that the division in the state over the issue falls along partisan lines, as “almost every” district that complied with Youngkin’s order voting for him in the 2021 gubernatorial election.

In a statement to The Hill, Youngkin’s spokesperson Macaulay Porter said, “Localities are fighting over something they already have the ability to do and Virginia has continually side stepped the importance of parent and student rights. Governor Youngkin is simply giving students and parents an opt-out of mask mandates.”

Seven Virginia school boards are suing Youngkin in an effort to block his executive order making mask-wearing optional in the classroom.

The plaintiffs, led by Fairfax County Public Schools, are requesting an immediate injunction of Youngkin’s order, which gives Virginia parents the authority to choose whether their children should wear a face covering in classrooms.

The school boards are arguing that Youngkin’s order violates a section of the state constitution, which says “The supervision of schools in each school division shall be vested in a school board.”

Youngkin slammed school boards during an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks on Monday and said the school districts “aren’t recognizing the rights of parents today.”

“And oh, by the way, they haven’t been recognizing the rights of parents all along. So I’m not surprised at all to hear these reactions from school boards that have consistently prioritized bureaucrats and politicians over the rights of parents,” he added.

The executive order lifting Virginia’s school mask mandate was one of 11 directives Youngkin signed on his first day in office. He also banned the teaching of critical race theory.

Updated at 2:16 p.m.

Tags COVID-19 Glenn Youngkin mask mandates schools Vaccine Virginia

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