State Watch

Virginia House approves law to make masks optional in schools

Students wears masks while working inside a 4th grade class Washington Elementary School in Lynwood, Calif.
Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday passed a measure to make mask-wearing optional in schools.

News of the bill’s passage comes after the state Senate passed the bill on Tuesday night, according to The Washington Post.

The bill now awaits the signing of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) and will go into effect immediately. The legislation allows parents to decide if they want their children to wear masks in school instead of Virginia officials implementing mask mandates. 

School districts have until March 1 to comply with legislation once it’s signed. 

Youngkin made parents’ choice and an end to mask mandates a cornerstone of his gubernatorial campaign last year, and he later beat out Democrat Terry McAuliffe for the governor’s mansion. Wednesday’s legislative development will mark an early win for Youngkin to make good on his campaign platform.

Last month, Democratic state lawmakers pushed back on Youngkin’s executive order that declared parents have a say over whether or not their children should don masks in school, with some mounting lawsuits against the action, The Post reported.

Youngkin will sign the bill Wednesday afternoon. He had announced a bill-signing ceremony even prior to the House vote, signaling his confidence that the measure would be passed, according to The Post.

A version of this bill was originally approved by the state Senate last week and passed by the House on Monday. However, Youngkin added a measure to the bill to allow the legislation to take effect immediately, according to the paper. 

The bill was returned to the lower chamber this week following Youngkin’s changes and passed. 

Tags Glenn Youngkin Glenn Youngkin school mask mandate Terry McAuliffe Virginia

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