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Attorney, parent of student-athletes sues VBCPS superintendent over COVID-19 mandates

All athletes are barred from their sport unless they submit proof of infection within the last 90 days, submit proof of full vaccination or get tested weekly.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach City Public Schools and superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence have been named as defendants in a new lawsuit filed over the division's vaccine and testing protocol for student-athletes. 

Filed by Virginia Beach attorney (and parent) Jason Swango, the suit aims to stop the division's enforcement of the newly implemented regulations surrounding student-athletes in the division. 

According to the lawsuit, Superintendent Dr. Aaron implemented the mandate which states "all student-athletes will be barred from participating in their chosen sport unless the minor (1) provides proof of a positive Covid-19 test result within the last 90 days, (2) submits proof of a full Covid-19 vaccination regimen, or (3) submits to weekly testing for Covid-19."

RELATED: Deadlines near for some Hampton Roads student-athletes to prove vaccination status

13News Now reached both Jason Swango (President and CEO) and Palmer Hurst (Family Law Attorney) of The Firm for Men Friday afternoon. 

While they did not share details on the exact timeline of when they decided to file the lawsuit, they said the intent of the complaint was to focus on whether Spence has the proper authority to enact this policy. 

The plaintiffs argue that the protocol is "illogical," going on to say it doesn't provide an adequate amount of alternative options for families who don't want their minor children vaccinated and that transmission data shows that fully vaccinated individuals can still spread the virus, according to the documents. 

They accuse Spence of violating the Code of Virginia.

VBCPS offers free COVID-19 testing capabilities for the division through Mako Medical Laboratories. 

Sondra Woodward, a representative for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, issued the following statement on the lawsuit:  

"Our student-athlete testing program is a weekly testing protocol for keeping our student athletes safe, in school and out of quarantine. The program is similar to those in many other school divisions locally (including Chesapeake and Suffolk), across the state, and in some of the largest in the country.  Students in VBCPS who have been vaccinated, or have proof of having COVID-19 in the last 90 days, are exempt from the weekly testing program.

Otherwise, as this matter is currently in litigation, School Board Legal Counsel has advised that no further comments will be made."

The lawsuit repeatedly makes reference to the policy as a "mandate." When asked, Woodward said the following: 

 "This is a weekly testing protocol designed to keep our student-athletes safe, in school and out of quarantine. It is not a vaccine mandate."

A vaccine mandate does not exist for the state of Virginia. This is the policy from the Department of Education's website:

Virginia does not currently require COVID-19 vaccines for students or school staff; but local divisions may choose to require the vaccine of school staff as a matter of employment. Additionally, some divisions are requiring student vaccinations in order to participate in athletics or other higher-risk activities.

You can read the court document filed in Virginia Beach City Circuit Court below: 

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