Petition in favor of masks reels in support for Bedford County families who have kids with special needs

The Bedford County School Board met twice in one week after voting to make masks optional beginning Feb. 1

A special meeting was held in Bedford County Thursday night on whether Bedford County Schools will change its masking policy.

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – The Bedford County School Board held a special meeting Thursday over masks in schools and whether to follow Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order.

The board voted 5-2 last week to end the mask mandate and make them optional Feb. 1.

But after Youngkin’s executive order, making them optional on Jan. 24, the board gathered again Thursday.

They’ll vote on whether to abide by Youngkin’s executive order or leave the mandate in place for one more week.

Cindy Younghouse, a concerned parent, created an online petition in support of families who are Immuno-compromised and have other special needs.

Younghouse created the petition Wednesday and already had hundreds of signatures 24 hours later.

“These families, they need a voice, a unified voice. The community can come together and show support for them; and hopefully, we can change some hearts on the school board,” said Younghouse.

School Board Chairperson Susan Falls Kirby says while she personally agrees with safety, parents should have the option.

“I’m a parent myself, so I’m sympathetic to everyone’s belief, and I understand the willingness to protect your children. But I also understand the desire to make the choice for your child,” said Kirby.

Kirby says the Board will take the petition into consideration for the future, but the decision was made and Thursday was only about setting a date.

She said her opinion would be to make masks optional on Feb. 1 so parents can get their children vaccinated, if they wish, or make other accommodations.

You can watch the special Board meeting here.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.