Governor Sets March 1 Deadline to End School Mask Mandates

Gov. Glenn Youngkin today will sign a bill prohibiting local school districts from imposing mask mandates.

The bill was fast-tracked through both houses of the General Assembly and yesterday the Senate approved amendments to designate it as emergency legislation that could take effect immediately. 

The amendments set out a March 1 effective date.  Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34), of Fairfax, said was to provide school districts, especially in Northern Virginia, a period to transition out of their mandates.

The bill signing comes two days after the Republican-controlled House of Delegates voted 52-48 to approve Senate Bill 739.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Siobhan S. Dunnavant (R-12) and replaced with a substitute by Peterson, moved through both chambers in less than a week, and landing briefly on Youngkin’s desk on Monday before being sent back to the Senate overnight for the emergency enactment. 

In the statehouse debates, supporters championed the legislation as a victory for parental rights and an end to measures they said are unnecessary and ineffective. Opponents objected to having the decisions about public health taken from local officials who best know the threats to their communities and the wishes of their constituents. 

Loudoun’s representatives split along party lines on the proposal. Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33) voted yes, while delegates Suhas Subramanyam (D-87), Wendy W. Gooditis (D-10), and David A. Reid (D-32) voted no.

In the senate, Jill Vogel (R-13) supported the bill and Jennifer B. Boysko (D-33) and John J. Bell (D-13) voted no.

Youngkin touted the bill as a win after it passed in the Senate with a 21-17 vote on Feb. 9.

“Parents are now empowered to decide whether their children should wear a mask in schools,” Youngkin said in a statement after the vote. “I promised that as governor, Virginia would move forward with an agenda that empowers parents on the upbringing, education, and care of their own children. I am proud to continue to deliver on that promise.”

Youngkin first signed an executive order on Jan. 15 seeking to make masks optional in schools, although many school divisions, including Loudoun, continued to require them, citing last year’s Senate Bill 1303. That bill requires school divisions to adhere to CDC COVID-19 mitigation guidance “to the greatest extent practicable,” which includes wearing masks in areas of high transmission of the virus.

12 thoughts on “Governor Sets March 1 Deadline to End School Mask Mandates

  • 2022-02-16 at 11:43 am
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    Great to see Republicans returning Virginia to normalcy and stopping the left-wing fear mongering that has been so detrimental to our American society.

    • 2022-02-16 at 9:49 pm
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      And you are proud of how the GOP lead for the four Trump years? Really? We were the laughingstock of the world. Many news programs during Trump’s term had little stories at the end of their shows making fun of Trump. You want to return to this? You are really off base.The GOP has proven they don’t know how to lead. You had your chance and you blew it big time. Normalcy? Fear mongering? If you mean about Covid, what the heck was the rest of the world doing, were they fear mongering too? You GOP are so paranoid it is sad to see. Reagan and GW Bush must be spinning in their graves if they could read such junk like this comment you wrote. If anyone was detrimental to American society it was Trump and his legion of cheater. Just today Stinky Zinke got caught doing illegal acts during his term in the Trump admin. Shame on you.

  • 2022-02-16 at 12:09 pm
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    The left’s collective psychosis is finally ending. I reckon they’ll start accusing people of being witches, to keep their lust for power over The People going. It’d make as much sense as the last two years have.

  • 2022-02-16 at 12:16 pm
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    Why didn’t Young seek buy-in from legislators prior rather than sign his ill-fated Executive Order? He’s an awful governor. Frankly, every time I see his mug on the news I feel like retching. At any rate, it looks like masks mandates will be phased out sooner rather than later. I just hope all reasonable precautions are implemented for LCPS students living with disabilities. Happy Black History Month Loudoun!

    • 2022-02-17 at 9:56 am
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      Hey Timmy, Did you ever see Gov Northam’s face? I guess not as he was either in Black Face or a Klan Hood.

      Question for you….If masks work, then why are we still in a Pandemic? It’s been 2 years of wearing masks. The CDC as info essentially saying masks make no difference in transmission. Florida, Texas, etc., have had kids IN the classrooms for years without masks.

  • 2022-02-16 at 1:01 pm
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    Note, this act allows students to wear masks if they and their parents decide to do so. This act only prevents schools from forcing students to wear masks against their will.

    The school board and Zeigler might have worked with the governor as they knew things were already moving in this direction but they chose to reflexively oppose the logical end to “two YEARS to flatten the curve.” But the board and Zeigler want to control every aspect of life in schools and they’ll gag children to do so. Shame on them.

  • 2022-02-16 at 2:08 pm
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    Bravo to LCPS for resisting the irresponsible executive order issued by the new governor, who seems clearly in over his head. The resistance bought enough time for the Omicron surge to pass — we were at 35% positivity rate when Youngkin issued his dumb order and under 8% now. So from that end, LCPS and the majority of other schools who basically shrugged at the new governor’s attempt to flex authority did plenty of good.

    As for the legislature, well, they take their chances with the electorate. While I always thought it would be safe to be maskless by Spring and I, personally, am fine with eschewing them now that community spread is lower, it doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of people in Loudoun County and most of the Northern Virginia region favored retaining mask mandates. So, people like Chap Petersen will have to face the wrath of voters down the road. Good luck to them.

  • 2022-02-16 at 8:31 pm
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    Freedom returns to Loudoun county school kids and their families!!
    Big WIN for everyone. You can wear a mask if you want….or not!

    Mr Ziegler and his nutty school board will continue to fight the law when they should focus on REBUILDING LOUDOUN EDUCATION which is in the dump right now.

    Happy Mask Freedom Day , Loudoun!!!!

  • 2022-02-16 at 9:45 pm
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    are you for real? Lust for power? Are you aware of what the GOP is doing to steal the next elections? How can you GOP continue to look the other way…lust for power? I am on the floor laughing. Trump, Cruz, McConnell, Cotton etc. all they want is power. You just cannot stand to see the GOP unravel before our eyes. I am still laughing and sending this to others who are passing it around too. Virginia is being laughed at around the world for Stunkin’s already miscues. Did I tell you that his son tried to vote twice? Lust for power, indeed.

    • 2022-02-17 at 10:22 am
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      Please be careful picking yourself up off the floor Sedona. You and your global puritan friends will be needed to start the witch trials, or whichever silly superstitions you’ll create next, demanding everyone else must comply with.

  • 2022-02-17 at 12:53 pm
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    Can ANYONE explain why Lo Co Schools mandated masks in the classroom but not on the wrestling mat while 2 students are grappling?

    These students can breathe and sweat on each other, but cannot sit side by side in a classroom without a mask.

    I guess Covid is not transmissible on a wrestling mat.

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