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Miyares to fight lawsuit seeking to overturn Youngkin order making masks optional in school

Attorney General Miyares said the order "restores authority to parents to make the best decision for their children" and it affirms "that parents matter."

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is asking the state Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit against Gov. Glenn Youngkin's executive order to make masks optional in public schools.

Miyares said Youngkin's order "restores authority to parents to make the best decision for their children" and it affirms "that parents matter." The order was signed on Jan. 15 and is set to take effect on Monday.

But earlier this week, 13 parents calling themselves "Chesapeake Advocates for Responsible Return to School", filed an emergency challenge to the order.

Attorney Kevin Martingayle, who represents the Chesapeake parents, released a statement.

It says: "It's ironic and sad that the governor claims that parents have fundamental rights regarding their children and then claims that parents shouldn't be able to challenge his executive order in Court. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. We stand by what we filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday and will respond to the Attorney General with another Supreme Court filing promptly."

In response to the order, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake school boards this week voted to make masks optional. But York County, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Williamsburg-James City County voted to keep masks mandatory.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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," adding that "the benefits of mask-wearing are well-established."

The Mayo Clinic said, "face masks help slow the spread of the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)."

13News Now reached out to Miyares for an interview on Friday, but his director of communications said he was unavailable.

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