State Watch

Youngkin signs bill banning school mask mandates in Virginia

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) on Wednesday signed a bill into law making masks optional in school.

He signed the bill shortly after the state House of Delegates approved the legislation.

The legislation, which takes effect immediately, 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 the legislation once it’s signed.

In a statement released shortly after the signing, Youngkin said he was working to “empower Virginia parents.”

“This is a defining moment and decisive victory for parents and kids across the Commonwealth,” he said. “We are reaffirming that parents matter by signing SB739, effectively giving parents the ability to opt-out of school mask mandates.”

Youngkin campaigned on rescinding mask mandates in public schools and signed an executive order on his first day of office giving parents the ability to choose whether their kids mask up.

His executive order is being challenged in court by school districts and parents of children with disabilities who say their kids are at greater risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19.

With the spread of the novel coronavirus apparently subsiding, a number of blue states are lifting mask mandates statewide — including some in schools — starting in February or next month.

Updated at 5:11 p.m.

Tags Education Glenn Youngkin legislation mask mandates Mask-optional order richmond school mask mandates Virginia
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