7 Virginia school districts sue governor over optional mask-making order

Seven Virginia school districts filed a lawsuit Monday to block Governor Glenn Youngkin’s order to override local mask policies and make masks optional in public schools.

The school districts represent more than 350,000 students, according to a statement, and include Fairfax County, the state’s largest district, as well as the governing board of Alexandria City Public Schools, Arlington Public Schools, and Arlington Public Schools. Richmond Public Schools, Falls Church City Public Schools, Hampton City Schools and Prince William County Public Schools.

The school districts said in a statement Monday morning that the lawsuit “defends the right to enact policy at the local level of school boards, including policies that protect the health and well-being of all.” students and staff.”

The lawsuit seeks to immediately halt enforcement of Youngkin’s order, which allows parents to decide whether their children should wear masks in public schools, despite district-wide mask requirements. The lawsuit says the governor’s executive order, which took effect Monday, is “a clear violation of the constitutional rights and responsibilities of the School Board” and that the local school board is “empowered and responsible for make that decision as part of their constitutional role of overseeing schools in their respective communities.”

“Without action today, the school board is placed in an inviolable legal position – facing an executive order that conflicts with the constitution and state law,” the school districts said. in the statement. “This lawsuit is not taken out of choice, but out of necessity.”

Covid cases increased 41 percent in Virginia over the past 14 days, according to an analysis by NBC News. Since Sunday, hospital admissions increased 11 percent in the same time period.

“With the high rate of Covid-19 transmission, our hospitals are at a crisis level, and with medical experts continuing to recommend maintaining universal mask wearing during this time, this is simply not the case. It is time to eliminate this important component of layered health and safety mitigation strategies. ,” the statement said. “School systems need to continue to maintain their authority to protect and serve all of our students, including our most vulnerable, who need mitigation measures.” This is probably more than anyone to have continued access to face-to-face instruction.”

Macaulay Porter, a spokesman for Youngkin, said in a statement that the authorities were “disappointed that these school boards are ignoring parental rights”.

“The governor and attorney general are working together and are committed to actively protecting the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the care, education, and care of their children, as the legal process unfolds. out,” said Porter.

Youngkin issues executive order earlier this month, said that parents “can choose for their children not to be subject to any masking duties in effect at the child’s school or educational program.”

“Parents should have the ability to decide whether their child should wear a mask throughout the school day,” the governor said in the order.

The lawsuit says the governor’s order violates existing Virginia law requiring local school boards to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC recommends All students 2 years of age and older in K-12 schools use face masks indoors, regardless of their immunization status.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/7-virginia-school-districts-sue-governor-order-making-masks-optional-rcna13348 7 Virginia school districts sue governor over optional mask-making order

Jake Nichol

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