Loudoun choose sides with dad and mom, grants injunction order quick masks possibility | Schooling
A Loudoun Circuit Court judge on Wednesday granted a temporary injunction brought by three parents demanding masks become optional in county schools immediately.
The suit – started by parents Kristen Barnett, Heather Yescavage and Colin Doniger and joined by Gov. Glenn Youngkin – demanded “immediate relief” for parents who feel their children were harmed by mandatory masking requirements.
A motion to stay the proceedings for 14 days to give county school officials time to decide whether to comply was denied by Circuit Judge Douglas Fleming.
Lawyers for the parents and state argued mandatory masking with cloth masks will not reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. They also argued that wearing a mask is detrimental to the mental and physical health of schoolchildren, including children with learning disabilities and other special needs who may need to see the uncovered facial expressions of their teachers.
“Schools continue to apply 2020 rules to 2022 facts,” said Virginia Solicitor General Andrew Ferguson.
Ferguson brought up the suspensions of 21 Loudoun students who did not wear masks in school, stating that the suspended children were missing out on their education, school sports, and social events because they refused to comply with masking rules.
Lawyers for the school system argued that recent CDC evidence, as well as VDH health guidelines, show that any type of mask still prevents some transmission of COVID-19. They argued that mandatory masking will reduce disease among immunocompromised teachers and students who are at a higher risk of complications including death from COVID-19.
“A lot of the teachers and students have things like leukemia, pulmonary disease; they take medications,” a county schools attorney said. “They matter too, and they have to configure their lives around how to deal with this situation.”
Lawyers for the schools also argued that since school boards in Virginia is elected by citizens and mandated by the state constitution, it should have authority over school safety decisions.
“I am proud that my team successfully litigated this case in defense of parents’ rights and Executive Order Two,” Attorney General Miyares said in a statement after the ruling.