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Order to end school mask mandates gets pushback in Virginia

One of Gov. Glenn Youngkin's executive orders ends the statewide COVID-19 mask mandate in K-12 schools beginning Jan. 24.

RICHMOND, Va. — School districts across Virginia are taking stock of the implications of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order that seeks to end mask mandates in schools.

On Saturday, shortly after Youngkin took office as Virginia’s 74th governor, he issued nine executive orders. One of the orders ends the statewide COVID-19 mask mandate in K-12 schools beginning Jan. 24.

RELATED: Youngkin signs executive actions including ban on teaching critical race theory

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Youngkin said he will “consider all options” to preserve an opt-out for parents from local school mask mandates. 

His order was getting pushback from some school districts and some Democrats who say state law requires Virginia to follow federal guidance that recommends masks in schools.

On Sunday, Virginia Beach City Public Schools informed parents and staff the division's "existing rules regarding masks will remain in place this coming week."
According to the memo, VBCPS will work with the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health and the Virginia Department of Education to determine "how this order impacts us and how best to comply."   

Below is the letter sent by VBCPS: 

Good evening, VBCPS families and staff-

Virginia’s new governor signed Executive Order Number Two yesterday, which terminates the previous administration’s policy regarding face coverings in a K-12 public school environment. This order is due to go into effect on Monday, Jan. 24.

Our existing rules regarding masks will remain in place as classes resume this coming week while we work with the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health, the Virginia Department of Education and our own health services team on how this order impacts us and how best to comply.

We will keep you informed as to how masking rules for VBCPS may change as soon as we have more information on the new executive order. In the meantime, please refer to our COVID-19 website for the latest on our safety strategies and for access to the COVID-19 Dashboard.

Thank you for your support of Virginia Beach City Public Schools.