ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – School boards across Virginia are scrambling over what to do with Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order involving masks in schools.
Friday afternoon, additional guidance was put out just an hour before Franklin County School Board was set to begin their special meeting regarding masking in schools.
“We were consulting with legal before our meeting and literally our attorney’s phone was pinging minutes before we walked into the meeting where things are changing so rapidly,” said chair of Franklin County School Board, Julie Nix.
Friday, the board made a motion to keep masking and reassess at the next meeting, which was met with a four to four vote, halting any changes to their current mask mandate.
“I personally believe that with the executive order that we should just go ahead January 24, lift the mask mandates and let our kids go back to normal education,” said one Franklin County parent, Michaelynn Hanson.
Youngkin’s update to his executive order Friday creates a “parental opt-out” from mask mandates at schools. Youngkin also released new guidance for schools highlighting nine preventative strategies, the last one being masks.
“That makes sense because parents can opt-out of the S.O.L. and parents can opt-out of family life, but again why was that information not given to us. And why not go ahead and have the meeting and say well that’s what we are going to do,” said another parent and former school board member, Donna Cosmato.
Parents were not informed about the updates to the order until 10 News read it to parents after the meeting. The board is hoping by their next meeting in February, they’ll be able to take a vote on a new motion.
“Our hope is to get clearer guidance on how S.B. 13.03 will work with the new executive orders. and we are trying to find a way to make that work,” said Nix.