After inaugurated Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) banned schools from establishing mask mandates on his first day as Virginia governor, four major school districts say they won’t abide by his new rule.
Executive Order Number Two (2022) and Order of Public Health Emergency One banned the mandates.
The order says that masks are harmful to children in a number of ways:
“At the same time that a universal masking requirement in schools has provided inconsistent health benefits, the universal requirement has also inflicted notable harm and proven to be impracticable. Masks inhibit the ability of children to communicate, delay language development, and impede the growth of emotional and social skills. Some children report difficulty breathing and discomfort as a result of masks. Masks have also increased feelings of isolation, exacerbating mental health issues, which in many cases pose a greater health risk to children than COVID-19. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, mask mandates in schools have proved demoralizing to children facing these and other difficulties.”
The order takes effect Jan. 24.
Noting that it was “reviewing Governor Youngkin’s executive order, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Scott Brabrand said in a Jan. 16 press release that “FCPS continues to require universal mask wearing in alignment with CDC guidance.”
“Our layered prevention strategies have proven effective in keeping transmission rates low in our schools. We know our students are best served by in-person instruction,” the release continued. “Adhering to our layered prevention strategies, especially universal masking, keeps our schools open and safe places for students to learn.”
According to a tweet from Arlington Public Schools, they will not abide by the governor’s orders either.
“Arlington Public Schools implemented our mask requirement this school year prior to Governor Northam’s K-12 mask mandate, and we will continue to make decisions that prioritize the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff, following the guidance of local and national health professionals,” that district said in a press release.
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), last fall embroiled in a transgender bathroom rape coverup scandal, said masks will be required when students come back to school Tuesday.
“The Order takes effect on Monday, January 24, 2022; therefore, masks will be required at LCPS when school opens on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 and for the remainder of the week,” a release signed by Superintendent Scott Zeigler says.
“LCPS is committed to in-person learning, and our layered mitigation protocols have served the division well in keeping transmission to a minimum,” the release continued. “LCPS will review the updated guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Department of Education, and the Virginia Department of Health and will provide new information to LCPS families and staff on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.”
WUSA9 reported that Alexandria City Public Schools and Prince William County Schools will also ignore Youngkin’s executive order.
Youngkin’s office could not be reached for comment.
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