Virginia school superintendent rejects ban on school mask mandates, and sues the governor

Virginia school superintendent rejects ban on school mask mandates, and sues the governor
Glenn Youngkin, Virginia Governor.

The school superintendent in Virginia’s most populous county is refusing to go along with the Virginia governor’s executive order banning mask mandates in the schools. He says students who refuse to wear masks will face suspension.  This morning, his school system (Fairfax County) joined six other school divisions in Virginia in filing a lawsuit against the governor’s executive order.

By contrast, many countries with lower COVID rates than the U.S. do not have mask mandates. In Europe, many countries do not require young children to wear masks in school. That includes nations with lower COVID rates than the U.S., and nations with higher COVID rates than the U.S. Mask mandates do not seem to have much effect on COVID transmission rates.

As Jazz Shaw notes at Hot Air, “Upon taking office as Governor of Virginia, one of the first things that Glenn Youngkin did was to take a page from the Ron Desantis playbook and issue an executive order forbidding public schools from imposing face mask mandates, leaving the decision about masking up to the parents….Scott Brabrand, the Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools … responded by … instructing school administration officials to suspend students who were not in compliance with the order [and] listing face masks as part of the school dress code, allowing for suspensions based on that criteria. So now there is a standoff between the county and the Governor over this issue.”

The Daily Wire reports:

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand on Friday issued a 34-page “Principal Briefing” PowerPoint presentation at a meeting with school administrators that ordered them to suspend students who refuse to wear a mask.

Asra Nomani from Parents Defending Education posted the presentation on her substack, noting that Brabrand had gone “rogue” in defiance of newly minted Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) executive order allowing parents to decide whether their child will wear a mask in school.

The presentation posted by Nomani noted that refusing to wear a mask would count as a “Dress Code” violation and be subject to suspension.

As Shaw notes,

Brabrand isn’t just involved in a dispute with the Governor here. The Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Department of Health have both already issued new guidance in keeping with the Governor’s executive order, allowing parents to make the choice as to whether or not they want their children to be masked in class.

If the schools stick with Brabrand’s policy, students who refuse to wear a mask indoors or on the bus or remove their mask after arrival will initially receive a suspension of one day. They will then have the option to return with a mask the following day or potentially face a longer suspension with the option of logging on to attend virtual classes….Nothing in Glenn Younkin’s order forbids anyone from wearing a mask, getting vaccinated, or anything else they determine is the best COVID strategy for them. In fact, the new Governor has actually encouraged people to be vaccinated and take appropriate precautions.

On January 24, the Schools Boards of Alexandria City, Arlington County, City of Richmond, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Hampton City and Prince William County, filed a lawsuit to challenge the validity of Executive Order 2 issued by the governor on January 15, 2022, banning mask mandates.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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