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School districts react to Gov. Youngkin’s executive order on masks

The order goes into effect Jan. 24
The order goes into effect Jan. 24(Unsplash)
Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 6:27 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2022 at 6:29 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Several hours after being sworn in Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued eleven executive orders - one dealing with masks in schools.

Youngkin followed through on his campaign promise to revoke the school mask mandate - but his move is already appearing to be challenged by Richmond Public School’s Superintendent Jason Kamras.

He tweeted Saturday that RPS will maintain its mask mandate for students, staff, and visitors.

This executive order goes into effect Jan. 24, but here’s what it says:

Parents of children in elementary, secondary school or a “school-based early childcare and educational program” can elect for their child *not* to wear a mask - and they do *not* have to provide a reason why.

The order goes on to say that if a parent elects for their child *not* to wear a mask, no policy made by a teacher, school, school district, the Department of Education, or any other state authority can force them to.

Here’s some reaction from other area school districts:

In a press release, Henrico County Public Schools says they will continue their mask requirements inside their school facilities and school buses.

HCPS says students and staff do not have to wear a mask during mealtime (with appropriate physical distancing) or when participating in sports activities.

In a post on Facebook, New Kent County Public Schools says for the upcoming week, they will continue the mask requirement for students and staff but will wait for any additional updates.

Yesterday (1/15/22), Governor Youngkin issued an executive order that states that parents may choose whether their child...

Posted by New Kent County Public Schools on Sunday, January 16, 2022

Schools in Hopewell say they will do the same, and for the upcoming week continue to require their staff and students to wear masks for the time being.

This is a developing story - check back for updates.

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