Loudoun County Board Masking Resolution Stopped for Now

Loudoun Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn)’s proposed resolution expressing support for the school system continuing to require masks despite Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s attempt to halt mask mandates will have to wait for another time.

County supervisors Tuesday night declined to suspend their regular rules of order to rush the resolution through. They have not yet voted on the resolution itself; that can still happen at a future board meeting, and is likely.

On his first day in office Saturday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order seeking to let parents decide that mask mandates do not apply to their children. The next day, Turner announced he would introduce a resolution to the Board of Supervisors affirming the the School Board’s authority to decide whether to require masks.

As some other supervisors pointed out at their meeting Tuesday night, the resolution is purely ceremonial and changes nothing. Youngkin’s order takes effect Monday, Jan. 24; the school district has so far only decided to maintain the mask mandate through the end of this week. Other large school districts around the state, including in Northern Virginia the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County and Arlington County, have already said they will continue to require masks.

Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run), an elementary special education teacher’s assistant, supported the idea of adopting the resolution immediately.

“I look at it as someone working in LCPS, and knowing that our parents, our staff, our teachers are concerned about what is going to happen for them and their children,” Glass said. “…They’re looking to us on what we’re going to do and how we are going to help them with this issue.”

Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said he was “disappointed” with the language of the executive order—“my understanding was the governor as going to support local control, as a good conservative I support local control”—but said Turner’s resolution introduced further confusion to the debate.

“I think all of us can express our opinions about it, but I think the School Board ultimately are the arbitrators,” Letourneau said. “I don’t want to do anything that’s going to confuse that issue for the public, because I think there is some confusion on that.”

Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) pointed out that under the board’s rules of order, resolutions are meant to be uncontroversial and approved unanimously.

“I just don’t think this is an issue we should be taking up. I think it violates our rules of order for resolutions, I think we’re putting our toes into someplace where they don’t belong right. It’s basically an unforced error on our part,” Buffington said.

Supervisors voted 5-4 to suspend their rules of order, but that vote required at least a super-majority 6-3 vote to pass. Letourneau, Buffington, and Supervisors Caleb E. Kershner (R-Catoctin) and Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) voted against.

Before the meeting, people rallied outside the County Administration Building in support of school district mask mandates, organized by political action committee Loudoun 4 All. Board Member Amanda Bean said they hope to encourage Loudoun schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler to keep the mask mandate in place.

“I do not want to mask forever, but I want to hear from public health experts that it’s the right time and the right thing to do, and I’m going to wait until I get that answer from them,” Bean said. “I’m not going to listen to a politician who’s trying to get political gain by pleasing a few angry voices.”

Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk also offered a few words.

“Let’s think as a community,” Burk said. “Let’s sacrifice, if it’s a sacrifice to wear this mask—let’s do it to keep our kids and our teachers safe.”

Youngkin’s executive order was immediately met with stern warnings from health experts who have advised repeatedly and consistently for close to two years that face masks are important for slowing the spread of the virus to avoid overwhelming hospitals and to protect vulnerable populations.

Aside from the health impacts of rescinding mask mandates in schools at a time when COVID-19 cases are just starting to come down from their highest-ever level, much debate has centered around whether Youngkin’s order is legal.

In 2021, the General Assembly passed a law requiring in-person instruction, with exceptions for periods of high COVID-19 transmission in schools, which also required schools to follow CDC guidance “to the maximum extent practicable” on the pandemic until August. Virginia governors cannot overrule state laws with executive orders.

20 thoughts on “Loudoun County Board Masking Resolution Stopped for Now

  • 2022-01-18 at 9:29 pm
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    This resolution is absurd. First, Omicron is the natural result of a virus that is mutating to be less severe but more contagious. Just like the flu, everybody will eventually get one of these benign strains. To wait for the most risk-averse people in the nation (look at survey responses of epidemiologists, virtually none of them would ever partake in anything they consider marginally risky like playing intense sports to hang gliding/skydiving; they also keep their kids sheltered instead of letting them get natural viruses that build the immune system; these are the last folks we should listen to on general policies) to become comfortable with an endemic virus is ludicrous. We’ll all be locked in our houses forever.

    But more importantly, Letourneau has no problem letting VDOE/governor/legislature set rules for LGBTQ students, teacher evaluation metrics, or school days but not for public health? Letourneau is a tax-and-spend liberal RINO who has no business calling himself “conservative”.

  • 2022-01-18 at 9:33 pm
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    When the totalitarian Covidians say something about not wanting something to be “forever,” you can be absolutely certain that they mean the exact opposite. Mandates are a sick addiction for them.

  • 2022-01-18 at 11:35 pm
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    If Youngkin attempts to cut funds from Loudoun County, I hope the BOS does weigh in. Youngkin needs to leave Loudoun alone. He uses beloved Middleburg as a tax shelter yet has the gall to ask Miyares to investigate LCPS. Youngkin is in no position to throw stones. He sends his son to a Maryland prep school that doesn’t post an antibias policy nor an anti-sexual harassment policy on its website. That school produced none other than Brett Kavanaugh. And Youngkin’s son tried on multiple occasions to vote illegally. Tend to your own house, Glenn Youngkin!

  • 2022-01-19 at 5:46 am
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    Youngkin has become a national joke in just 2 days. An amazingly fast stumble.

    • 2022-01-19 at 3:15 pm
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      Funny… Northam, his AG Herring weren’t jokes when they made national headlines for wearing blackface ?

  • 2022-01-19 at 6:47 am
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    I am all for getting vaccinated and wearing mask but the School Board and the LCPS superintendent are out of control. Sadly they are just drinking the liberal cool aid that comes out of the Biden Whitehouse. There is a new administration in Virginia. The people have spoken. Get used to it. Our new AG is coming after the LCPS Superintendent and the School Board. I am hoping that people get charged and also fired.

  • 2022-01-19 at 7:04 am
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    Masks do NOTHING to protect anyone from the virus which is about 300X smaller than the weave of the mask.

    Wear one if you want, but don’t force someone else’s kid to wear these useless things.

    When the former gov mandated school masking, local Loudoun jumped at his authority. Funny how those same people are pushing BACK at the new gov’s authority. Funny indeed.

    Congrats on a new Va governor Loudoun County!!! Sanity will prevail at some point.

  • 2022-01-19 at 7:25 am
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    Youngkin won, in large part, because unlike his opponent, he thought parents should have a say in how their kids are taught in school, including masking. He reiterated this as part of his executive order to ban mandates.

    The input of the parents is required, and still being ignored.

    Unless our politicians start to listen to parents, they will find themselves out of jobs soon.

  • 2022-01-19 at 7:38 am
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    Bean said she is not going to listen to a politician trying to get political gain. Who has she been listening to for the past 10-20 years?

  • 2022-01-19 at 8:10 am
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    If masks work, then why isn’t the Pandemic over?

    We’ve been wearing masks for years now.

  • 2022-01-19 at 9:21 am
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    Masks are noting more than covid theatre. This is science. Nothing prevents you from wearing 6 masks if that is your preference. You do you.

    Can we please educate the children – math, science and history? Lose the wokeness.

  • 2022-01-19 at 9:34 am
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    it’s all about our local elected officials doing what they can to deny state elected officials dually elected to represent We the People!

    • 2022-01-20 at 4:48 pm
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      seems like we the people have become me the individual with no regard for our effect on our fellow citizens. It is every person for themselves in the Youngkin VA.

  • 2022-01-19 at 10:05 am
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    Masks Should be Optional, The Vaccine does not protect you, the vaccinated are the number one getting covid-19 right now, we have several of them at work and they are told by hr/ human resources to come in even if they are sick because they are vaccinated. LCPS wants its unvaccinated employees to test weekly this is decimation, all employees should be tested for covid 19 weekly just like every one coming into the united states from over seas has to pass a covid 19 test even if vaccinated to come back. covid is not the plague stop the craziness. Dale Gilbert

  • 2022-01-19 at 10:20 am
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    Saner heads prevailed at a Loudoun County Board meeting? This may be one of the signs of the apocalypse! I think the decision not to introduce a pointless resolution was the better choice.

  • 2022-01-19 at 12:21 pm
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    “Youngkin’s executive order was immediately met with stern warnings from health experts who have advised repeatedly and consistently for close to two years that face masks are important for slowing the spread of the virus to avoid overwhelming hospitals and to protect vulnerable populations.”

    Two years of masks, and here we are with covid more than ever, yet people are still buying into the same failed mitigations over and over. At what point does one admit, we’re wrong. We screwed up. None of this stuff worked very well. Let’s try something different. Or is that not permitted by the high priests of expertism?

  • 2022-01-19 at 8:26 pm
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    Leesburg Now should not publish public health disinformation of this sort.

  • 2022-01-20 at 9:04 am
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    Glad to see this got shot down. They’ve got worse things to worry about in that district, and seriously … There should be ZERO support for this body who so egregiously failed to protect students from a RAPIST.

  • 2022-01-20 at 9:44 am
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    The end state when you’re unable to debate an issue based on reality — push for censorship. Very, very ‘progressive.’

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