Seven school boards in Virginia are challenging Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's executive order prohibiting mask mandates, which goes into effect today.
The school boards of Alexandria City, Arlington County, Richmond City, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Hampton City and Prince William County filed a lawsuit with the Circuit Court for the County of Arlington.
“Today’s action is not politically motivated. These seven school divisions would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the governor to ensure the safety and welfare of all students,” the school boards said in a joint statement.
“We are disappointed that these school boards are ignoring parent's rights,” Youngkin’s spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement. “The governor and attorney general are in coordination and are committed to aggressively defending parents' fundamental right to make decisions with regard to their child’s upbringing, education and care, as the legal process plays out."
The school boards said the legal action, which represents more than 350,000 students across the commonwealth, “defends the right of school boards to enact policy at the local level, including policies that protect the health and well-being of all students and staff.”
The Catholic Diocese of Arlington, meanwhile, instructed schools in Virginia to follow the governor's executive order prohibiting schools from enforcing mandatory mask mandates.
“The governor’s executive order is clear on the right of parents not to have their child be subject to a mask mandate,” Catholic Diocese of Arlington spokesperson Amber Roseboom said in a statement. The diocese stretches across 21 counties, and has more than 17,000 students enrolled in its schools.
More background: Youngkin was inaugurated Jan. 15 and signed the executive order on his first day that allows parents and guardians to “elect for their children" whether to wear masks. On Jan. 19, a group of parents of public school students in Chesapeake, Virginia, sued over the executive order.
The CDC recommends "universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of their vaccination status or the area's transmission rates." But mask-related measures have sparked controversy around the U.S.
In Los Angeles, students and staff are now required to wear non-cloth masks that have a nose wire, including while participating in athletic activities. In Georgia, public school teachers who test positive for Covid-19 no longer have to isolate before returning to school if they are asymptomatic and wear a mask.
Watch a Virginia parent express fear at Gov. Youngkin banning mask mandates in schools:
Source : https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/omicron-variant-coronavirus-news-01-24-22/h_049bc317cbbe20b575cf9d6b0808604f545