Masks in School: Tracking mask mandates by school district

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 4:27 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 5:14 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - School districts across central Virginia are split on whether or not to keep masks requirements following Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order giving parents a choice. To help navigate the confusion, we’ve created some interactive maps covering Virginia’s 133 school districts for parents.

Some districts keeping a mask requirement and going against the governor’s order include Richmond, Petersburg, Henrico, Hopewell, Colonial Heights and Louisa. Those are the counties in orange on our map below.

Throughout the state, seven districts - including Richmond - have gone a step further by filing lawsuits to challenge the order.

They claim the governor’s order, which says parents of children in elementary and secondary school can elect for their child not to wear a mask without giving a reason, is illegal because of a law passed in 2021 requiring schools to follow CDC guidance, which currently recommends universal mask-wearing in schools.

School districts following the governor’s directive and allowing parents to make the choice include Amelia, Chesterfield, King William, Spotsylvania, Prince George, New Kent and Powhatan. Those districts are in blue on our map.

Across the state, school boards and superintendents of mask choice schools gave responses with interesting themes. Some of those themes include longer quarantines for unmasked students and a higher radius for direct exposure, telling parents teachers won’t be mask police and the school isn’t going to do elaborate contact tracing anymore case by case - it will adjust.

Others are still waiting for more guidance from the new administration before they make a decision. You can track those by finding the green counties on our map.

Several districts have openly stated that they are waiting on lawsuits to play out and further guidance, with dates to revisit their position scheduled.

For more in-depth data on each district, you can explore this map:

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