Maskless Monday Hits Loudoun Schools, Further Divides Families and District

Students throughout the district defied the masking policy today, pointing to the governor’s executive order that made the mitigation optional beginning this week, and found themselves segregated from the rest of the student body, and in some cases, dismissed from school.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed the executive order on his first day in office, giving parents the option to send their children to school maskless, despite localities’ mask mandates. The order tees up what will likely be a battle fought in courts. Seven school boards—Alexandria, Arlington, Richmond, Falls Church, Fairfax, Hampton, and Prince William—joined to file a lawsuit challenging the executive order, arguing that it violates Senate Bill 1303, enacted during last year’s General Assembly session to codify masking in schools.

The School Board voted last Tuesday to support Superintendent Scott Ziegler continuing the mask requirement. 

Last night, Ziegler sent an email to families saying that maskless students would be considered close contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19. He said that maskless students would be required to quarantine for 10 days. One mother said that she felt the policy was punishment for not abiding by the mandate. 

Megan Rafalski, a mother of a Banneker Elementary School student, said her son tried to enter the school building without his mask this morning, and he was sent to the library instead of to class. Rafalski and other parents asked the principal to allow their children to go to class without masks. 

“He said, you either come in and put a mask on, or they need to go home,” Rafalski said. “It was extremely upsetting. … My son was perfectly healthy today, he needs to be in class, that is why he is in school.”

Later, the principal called the Raflski family to share that their son was being clinically dismissed. Rafalski picked her son up after noon. She said the family does not yet know what they will do tomorrow, but that he needs to be in school.

At Smarts Mill Middle School, administrators took a similar approach, dividing unmasked students from the student body. One mother of two, Gloria George, said her family decided that it was best for them to not wear masks.

“We’re not against the people who want to wear the masks … but you cannot separate these kids,” George said. George said that during recess, the student body played outside without masks, but her son was still not permitted to join. 

Elsewhere, those opposed to the mask mandate took more abrasive approaches. Outside of Woodgrove High School, students wearing masks were reportedly called “sheep” by parents. Dozens of Woodgrove students were forced to spend the school day in the auditorium if they did put on a mask.

Elicia Brand, one of the organizers of Maskless Monday at more than 30 Loudoun Schools, said that Ziegler’s Sunday email announcing the 10-day quarantine for maskless students was really a threat of suspension. The quarantine period for close contacts or people who test positive for the virus is now five days. 

“What this is doing is creating to classes of students. The masked and the unmasked, and you’re pitting them against one another,” Brand said. “It’s not well-thought out.”

When asked if the school division directed principals to segregate students not wearing masks, spokesman Wayde Byard did not answer the question, but referred to the School Board’s vote to support continued masking. 

“We are following the same guidelines as always as outlined on the Mask and Mitigation section of our website. The School Board affirmed its support for these guidelines last Tuesday,” Byard said in an email.

Byard later reported that only 100 students in the division defied the mask mandate.

38 thoughts on “Maskless Monday Hits Loudoun Schools, Further Divides Families and District

  • 2022-01-24 at 3:20 pm
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    What is it about Democrats that constantly instills in them the need to segregate people?

    • 2022-01-25 at 11:44 am
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      You would have to ask the lame GOP about that. Who has divided, segregated people more than the Big Orange Goofball and his legions of morons? Ask the GOP why they are “segregating’ voters from the polls with their anti American plans for elections. Democrats? Are you for real? Stop watching FOX and read the real news. I don’t mean CNN or MSNBC, I mean go to any country in the world and read their reports. They have no dog in the fight, no cult figure to follow, their American reporters from about 195 countries have American based correspondents and they report the facts, not what Fox purports. Do you self a favor, stop listening to Shame Hannity etc. and find out what is really happening.

      • 2022-01-26 at 2:19 am
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        I’m a big believer in being vaxx’d as early as possible. I also don’t think masks are the way. I have some dogs in the fight here – trying to wrangle an upcoming 2 y/o with wearing them. I feel sad for her, and I wonder at lack of emotional development/reading faces.

        I have a few nephews/neices in school.. They tell me that they just use the same cloth mask every day and it falls off their noses mid class, and they take it off between classes. I’m not all FOXNEWS but truly, a lot of this is just theater.

  • 2022-01-24 at 3:28 pm
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    Rafalski said she would sue anyone who dared to tell little N–h to put on a mask. actually she said “face diaper. she said N–h is potty trained. because she is cool like that. she upset Lincoln VA by planning a monster home in a historic village, saying she wants to move there and help the community. and by helping she means suing — as she is already suing the school board for enforcing rules of decorum. what a surprise that she is one of the bully parents refusing to keep kids safe at school.

  • 2022-01-24 at 3:29 pm
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    Rafalski weaponizes her child at Board of Supervisors meetings, school board meetings, and at school. As long as she can be in the spotlight. . .

  • 2022-01-24 at 3:48 pm
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    This is yet another example of the LCSB and Superintendent putting politics above science and defying the executive of the entire commonwealth.

    What is really the point of the masks at this stage? Protecting faculty? From what? Staff and faculty have been vaccinated and boosted right? So the 99.9% of them will only have a mild cold if they become positive. Protecting other students? Same point as stated. Well 5 and below don’t have a vaccine yet, so we must protect the children. Parents still send their unvaccinated kids to daycare and school, so thereby they accept the risk, which is 99.9% to be a cold, if anything.

    And let’s not get into the science of how masks do not protect from COVID, especially when majority of people reuse the same masks for weeks and/or don’t use a N95 mask (mostly a cool looking cloth mask).

    So here we are, the school district playing politics and creating unnecessary division amongst our community.

    Let’s be clear, the governor’s EO did not ban masks or ban mandates. All it says is that parents can opt out of their children from wearing a mask. So staff/faculty can still wear their useless piece of cloth over their mouths, on top of being vaxxed and boosted, as can other kids should they want to. But those that don’t, don’t need to and that fine too.

    • 2022-01-25 at 11:46 am
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      What executive of the Commonwealth are you referring to? Not Governor Stunkin I hope? He has “fleeced” VA already and is a joke worldwide. He has made Virginia a laughingstock in far flung places already. What a clown, thank God he can’t run again in four years. He will have destroyed the commonwealth by then.

      • 2022-01-26 at 11:45 am
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        Because the Governor is really concerned with what people think in “far flung places.”

        Have you spent your life calling people names Sedona?

        • 2022-01-26 at 8:03 pm
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          The governor does seem really concerned what people who watch Fox News and listen to right-wing media think, however. He runs to those channels at every opportunity rather than, you know, doing interviews with the news media in the state.

          His inexperience is showing. I actually think he could be a decent governor if he has a chance to grow into the role. Instead, he appears to have surrounded himself by a very bad group of advisers, many of them incompetent refugees from the failed Trump administration. Much of what he’s doing policy-wise and tactically appears to be at the guidance of others.

          I mean, in one week or so, he’s already made three massive and embarrassing mistakes: 1) Supporting legislation that, among other things, called for Virginian children to be taught about the non-existent debates between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass; 2) Pick a pointless fight with the Northern Virginia communities that rejected him in the election over masks; 3) Set up a “Stasi” for reporting on teachers that is now being spammed by TikTok trolls and people all across America.

          It didn’t have to be this way. He forgot rule #1: The election is over and the time for politicking ended. It’s time to govern. He’s still trying to pander and politick. And so he’s basically floundering. And no amount of running to sympathetic right-wing media that isn’t watched by Virginians is going to save him. His poll numbers are going to be a disaster.

  • 2022-01-24 at 4:20 pm
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    Send the maskless kids home. Let them do remote learning, if available. As far as parents harassing kids at Woodgrove, send the sheriff there, arrest those parents, and charge them with assault.

  • 2022-01-24 at 4:27 pm
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    I’m just glad there was minimal disruption at Loudoun’s schools today. Goodness knows what Tuesday’s school-board meeting will bring. But it’s heartening to read that schools operated efficiently on Monday, for the most part. P.S. — Very sad to hear the Loudoun mother crying on the radio today. It’s tragic that her maskless son was segregated from the majority of his classmates. However, I’m praying the situation will be temporary.

  • 2022-01-24 at 4:35 pm
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    If parents/teachers are still scared of Covid at this point, they’re the ones who need to stay home… masked up, glued to the news and living in their safety bubble.

  • 2022-01-24 at 4:37 pm
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    Make it 200 tomorrow. I’m proud of these kids standing up to the oppressive politics of petty bureaucrats and their stooges on the school board.

    This is all about clinging to their taste of control freakism. Resist.

  • 2022-01-24 at 4:42 pm
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    Setting aside the absurdity that the prudent use of masks to curtail the spread of a highly contagious illness somehow motivated someone to organize a (weak) protest, even Governor Youngkin advised parents to follow the instructions of their school principals. The ones who professed shock over their maskless children experiencing consequences particularly take the cake; you were warned.

    The adults who harassed children and called them names, however, have a special place in Hell waiting for them. I sincerely hope they were recorded so their behavior can be shared on social media, ideally leading to ostracization and loss of employment. What vile people.

  • 2022-01-24 at 5:03 pm
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    Children are required to be educated which is why truancy is treated as a crime. Students are not be punished or denied their right to educational resources without due process. Even children in jail are required to be taught! LCPS can only claim they are following CDC guidelines if they actually are. So are the students (all the students) carefully kept at least 3 feet away from any other student during the entire day? Suggest parents keep track of all the violations especially the most basic one which is that IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN! 🙂

  • 2022-01-24 at 5:09 pm
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    Loudoun County jumped when a democratic gov issued EO’s. Now that a republican gov is running the state, they howl in protest. The courts will most likely side with the parents and leave the mask decision to each family. Wear a mask if you want. Wear three masks if you want, but don’t dictate what other families have to do. Masks don’t protect anyone.

    Loudoun County is again in the news for disgraceful behavior. Ziegler needs to leave. No leadership on display during a difficult period regardless of what side of the fence you are on.

    “When asked if the school division directed principals to segregate students not wearing masks, spokesman Wayde Byard did not answer the question, but referred to the School Board’s vote to support continued masking.”

    Maybe Byard should stick to snow days.

  • 2022-01-24 at 5:20 pm
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    Not dividing families! It is showing the disconnect between our School Board and Superintendent which are disgraces and the voting citizens and families of Loudoun.

  • 2022-01-24 at 5:31 pm
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    Anyone who receives medical services for catching COVID, and is both, not vaccinated and refuses to wear a mask should have their medical benefits denied.

    • 2022-01-25 at 9:14 am
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      Your Body Mass Index is solidly in the “Healthy” range on the chart, right?
      You don’t smoke, right?
      You don’ drink, right?
      You don’t consume sugary drinks to excess, right?

      If not, then I hope your medical benefits are denied.
      See how truly idiotic your position is?

      • 2022-01-27 at 12:08 pm
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        The idiotic position is touting the legal benefits provided through the Affordable Care Act (or as you people like to call it, Obamacare) after howling for years about how such legislation was leading to socialism.

        The only question Health Insurers can now ask is whether you use tobacco. You right wingers fought long and hard to preserve the ability of insurers to ask all the questions you list. So who’s being idiotic?

    • 2022-01-25 at 11:47 am
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      Really? A grown man wearing a fleece vest? And you are surprised? Jeez.

      • 2022-01-26 at 11:48 am
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        Should he switch over to blackface or the Klan outfit Sedona?

  • 2022-01-24 at 6:55 pm
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    I don’t know how we got here but it’s just insane that the governor is putting the safety of children at risk to further his standing with voters. Maybe he’s just enjoying watching parents fight instead of working together to improve education. Now it’s “do what the principal says” until my AG can get the ruling from the Supreme Court of VA that might make it so you have to do what I say instead. Amazing.

  • 2022-01-24 at 8:14 pm
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    Governor seems quite impotent in his new role. Maybe he should have stuck to basketball.

  • 2022-01-24 at 9:00 pm
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    If you are committed to the belief that masks are a health risk send your student to school without one. After he/she is sent home and denied an education for the day, file your lawsuit and injunction.

    It seems that’s the only way to get the attention of LCPS.

  • 2022-01-25 at 5:08 am
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    Although I supported Gov. Youngkin this mask policy was not well thought out. To quote one of the parents “One mother of two, Gloria George, said her family decided that it was best for them to not wear masks,” Replace the word ‘masks’ with someother word or phrase, ‘her family decided it was best for them not to…’sit while riding the bus’, “best for them not to walk in the hallways”, “best for them not to sit quietly and listen to the teacher”. The list goes on. You wanted your child back in the classroom. Loudoun has done a great job making that happen. Wear the mask for now. It will end soon enough.

  • 2022-01-25 at 8:19 am
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    Sounds like segregation, isn’t that illegal?

    I commend those parents and students for standing up for themselves and trying to follow the Governors mandate. This is the only way we are going to get this debacle turned around. But come on folks refrain from the name calling. Let those that want to mask wear them, and those of us that don’t, won’t.

    • 2022-01-26 at 4:21 pm
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      Don’t make me go Inigo Montoya on you. Segregation is perfectly legal. I mean, by God, you people previously chose segregated bathrooms as a hill you wanted to die on.

      Segregation based on RACE is not legal.

      Your failed logic is bad enough. Please don’t compound your apparent idiocy by using words you don’t understand.

  • 2022-01-25 at 8:32 am
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    Zeigler has a way of dividing the community, about time the masks come off and people have the option and freedom to choose how they want to live their life… again, unelected bureaucrat trying to force his will on parents. The guy lets a rapist in school, lies about it, and then says you must wear a mask to be safe. Can’t make this stuff up – when does the investigation start?

  • 2022-01-25 at 9:17 am
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    The Covidians are quickly realizing that their control of others is withering away.

    Without government-sponsored fear and intimidation, they have nothing in their lives. Such a sad, sad segment of society.

  • 2022-01-25 at 11:51 am
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    If a child sneezes into their shirt or sleeve it stops the droplets in their tracks. Isn’t that what our children have been taught for years? Continue this effort, wipe down surfaces between children. Don’t give them an opportunity to touch knobs or railings. A study in Japan indicated the virus lives on your skin up to 9 hours. Wash your hands frequently. The schools need to be more concerned that they don’t provide warm water at the sink. Every sink in the school buildings need to be assessed and set up for children to go to the sink and wash their hands a few times a day especially before eating. They pick their noses!!! They rub their eyes. They put their fingers in their mouths. Wearing a mask is not stopping this!!! We have succumbed to just using hand sanitizers. Let them wash their hands too. Warm water, friction, soap and rinse; dry well.

    Word to the wise. If you do get sick remember coughing helps bring the bad bugs up. The cilia in your body propels the bug up and the coughing helps expel it out. Stopping the cough means keeping the bug in. Cough it up and out into a tissue and throw them away. When you cough it up and don’t spit it out…your poor cilia hairs has to do it again. Help your cilia hair and spit out what it propels up !!!Wash your hands. The best thing you can do for your friends, families, neighbors and coworkers is to buy them a case of tissues and cases of water and trash bags to help contain it. Drink and cough and get it out. Don’t let it move down into your lungs. Expectorants helps.

  • 2022-01-25 at 12:21 pm
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    Don’t the CDC Recommendations say Sports should be cancelled?

    Is Lo Co School Board cherry picking CDC recommendations to suit their political desires?

  • 2022-01-25 at 3:35 pm
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    So when will they stop having the kids wear masks? If the school leaders won’t listen to the Governor, does this mean they will make all of the decisions? Maybe when not one single person gets COVID, then they will stop the masks? Some people just like to be controlled by government. There isn’t even a directive as to when the masks can go, no %,no timeframe. This will bleed into other arenas, just watch. Glad my kids are all out of LCPS.

  • 2022-01-29 at 3:06 pm
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    I can’t wait for kids to use the governor’s no-mandate order and apply it to other dress code issues like the length of shorts or the exposure of belly buttons. I bet all the ones who want bodily autonomy when it comes to deciding what one wears on their face will reverse course quickly to keep the prohibition on hats or showing underwear-like clothing. The hypocrisy is stunning.

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