Virginia faces new legal battles over masking in schools

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Virginia faces new legal battles over masking in schools

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! Virginia is facing a pair of lawsuits for and against mask mandates as newly elected Gov. Glenn Young

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Virginia is facing a pair of lawsuits for and against mask mandates as newly elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin attempts to give parents and students an opt-out.

On Wednesday, the Arlington Circuit Court is expected to hear a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which alleges that Youngkin’s recent order is preventing equal education opportunities for students with disabilities.

Meanwhile, a group of parents have sued Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) for allegedly not complying with the governor’s decision to let parents opt their children out of mandates. 

Masked students wait to go to their classroom during the first day of class at Stanford Elementary School in Garden Grove, California, on Monday, August 16, 2021. 

Masked students wait to go to their classroom during the first day of class at Stanford Elementary School in Garden Grove, California, on Monday, August 16, 2021. 
(Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register)

The ACLU of Virginia represents a group of parents asking for a permanent injunction on Youngkin’s order, which, they say, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

YOUNGKIN RESPONDS TO SCHOOL MASK MANDATE PUSHBACK FROM VIRGINIA SCHOOLS

“By refusing to allow school districts to even consider whether to implement universal mask requirements as needed to protect the health and safety of the children they serve, the Governor’s order has placed unlawful barriers to educational access for students with disabilities,” said Eden Heilman, who serves as legal director for the ACLU of Virginia. 

“The governor is preventing some of the state’s most vulnerable children from returning to, or remaining in, public schools.”

Glenn Youngkin, governor of Virginia, speaks to members of the media following a Cabinet swearing-in ceremony at the Virginia Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.

Glenn Youngkin, governor of Virginia, speaks to members of the media following a Cabinet swearing-in ceremony at the Virginia Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
(Al Drago/Bloomberg)

Youngkin’s order acknowledges the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends masks but argues the evidence is mixed and parents should have more control.

“A review of CDC, WHO, and other local and international health authorities’ recommendations reveals a lack of consensus on the costs and benefits of mask-wearing for children in school for many of the reasons noted above,” the order reads. 

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“In light of the variety of circumstances confronted by students in the Commonwealth, parents should have the ability to decide whether their child should wear masks for the duration of the school day. This approach is consistent with the broad rights of parents.”

The lawsuit in Loudoun County alleges that LCPS has continued its universal masking mandate and refused to allow students to obtain an in-person education if they do not comply.

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