Masking still an option for students

Published 8:00 am Thursday, February 10, 2022

On Friday, Feb. 4, a Northern Virginia judge granted seven Virginia school districts a restraining order against Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s order on banned mask mandates. However, Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) continue to give options.

“We are not having issues with the masking or non-masking changes,” LCPS superintendent Charles Berkley Jr. said.

One of his first orders as newly elected Gov. Youngkin lifted the statewide COVID-19 mask mandate in K-12 schools.

The governor’s order states that parents with children in public schools “may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school.”

Following the executive order on Saturday, Jan. 15, many school districts across the state said they would be keeping their mask requirements in place and began lawsuits against the Gov.

On Friday, Jan. 21, Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Charles Berkley Jr. announced that the school division would follow the Gov.’s executive order and give parents the right to choose but only to a certain extent.

“It is your choice as to whether your child will wear a mask in the school building; however, if your child utilizes any kind of LCPS transportation (bus or car), they must wear a mask while being transported,” Berkeley said in his announcement.

Following the Judges announcement granting school boards in Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Hampton Roads, Prince William County and Richmond City a right to keep its mandate in place.

Berkley said the division’s policy would remain intact for now but could change if the board so decides at their next meeting, which is Monday, Feb.14

According to Berkley, as of Monday, 273 students’ division-wide have opted out of wearing masks in the school at this time. “These numbers change daily and probably will for some time, Berkeley said.

Late Monday afternoon, Feb. 7, The Supreme Court of Virginia denied a petition filed by parents in Chesapeake seeking to overturn Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order ending mask mandates in public schools.

In their decision, the court said in the case of mask mandates in school, a state law passed last year requiring school districts to adhere to CDC guidelines “to the maximum extent practicable” leaves school leaders with at least some discretion regarding how to act.