On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a law ending mask mandates in schools throughout Virginia. The law allows parents to opt-out their children from wearing masks, despite conflicting local mandates, without providing a reason or getting an exemption. It also bars online learning options, preventing schools from enacting hybrid systems, and requires schools be open for in-person learning five days a week.
Youngkin had signed an executive order barring mask mandates on the day he was inaugurated in mid-January, but several school districts challenged it in court. The newly-elected governor was pushing to deliver on his campaign promises to end the mandates, and affirm what he said are ‘the rights of parents in education.’ The new law comes as school board meetings have become political battlegrounds over COVID mandates, and as an increasing number of states have let indoor mask mandates expire this month, including California, New York, Delaware and Nevada. In addition, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and Oregon will stop requiring masks in the next few weeks, leaving it up to individual school districts to decide if students should wear them or not — and Texas, Utah, Florida, and Oklahoma are banning requirements altogether at a state level.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that all children ages two and older wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
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