Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Parents from Chesapeake sue Youngkin, saying school mask order conflicts with state law


Richmond Times-Dispatch

A group of Chesapeake parents sued Gov. Glenn Youngkin Tuesday in the Supreme Court of Virginia over Youngkin’s order that rescinded a statewide school mask mandate and gave parents an opt out from local mandates, saying a 2021 state law requires schools to refer to CDC COVID-19 guidelines “to the maximum extent practicable.”

The CDC recommends masks in schools, and the Chesapeake parents say Youngkin’s order is in direct conflict with the law. They say Youngkin, who took office on Saturday, doesn’t have the power to suspend that law and they ask the Supreme Court to declare Youngkin’s executive order void.

Youngkin’s impending executive order has caused tension in the Virginia General Assembly as Democrats say the new governor is overstepping his power with threats of school funding being slashed if districts don’t comply with the order. Despite the threat, some school districts are standing firm in keeping their mandates.

Some of the state’s largest school districts – from Arlington and Fairfax counties to Richmond and Henrico County, to Norfolk and Chesapeake – say they will continue to require masks, citing a state law that says schools must follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to the maximum extent practicable.”


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