In response to an executive order by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to end the state-wide mandate next week, Superintendent Scott Ziegler said in an email to families and staff Monday that masks will remain a requirement in schools for the time being,
Shortly after the email was sent, Ziegler said in a statement to media members that another announcement will be made on Wednesday, following a review of the order, and CDC and Department of Health guidance.
Youngkin issued the executive order shortly after his inauguration on Saturday. It states that “the parents of any child enrolled in a elementary or secondary school or a school based early childcare and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.”
The order is set to take effect Jan. 24.
The order is at odds with a state law enacted last year that requires school divisions to provide five days a week of in-person instruction and to follow mitigation strategies advised by the CDC to the greatest extend possible. The law expires in August.
Current CDC guidance recommends masking for all people ages 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status.
Other school divisions in Northern Virginia have taken similar stances on masking. In Fairfax, Arlington and Prince Williams mask requirements will remain in place.
The mask requirement in schools has been an issue that has divided parents. Dozens of parents called for an end to the mask requirement during the Jan. 11 School Board meeting, arguing that the mitigation is harmful to children. At the beginning of the school year, hundreds of parents, worried that mitigation strategies weren’t sufficient to protect their children, protested for a virtual learning option.