The nationwide parents’ rights movement against overreaching school boards continued apace this week, as parents in Loudoun County, Virginia, joined by the Virginia governor, the Virginia Attorney General’s office and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, sought and received a preliminary injunction blocking the imposition of a mask mandate by the Loudoun County School District (LCSD).
Circuit Court Judge James Fisher also denied LCSD’s request to delay the matter while the district examines a new state law empowering parents to opt out their children from any mask requirement while on school grounds. That law was passed recently after Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order 2 issued in January banning mask mandates was blocked by another Virginia court.
The injunction reads:
- The School Board is enjoined from enforcing the Universal Mask Mandate […] or any other policy regarding facial masking in Loudoun County Public Schools that does not comply with Executive Order 2 (2022) issued by Governor Glenn Youngkin on January 15, 2022, and taking effect on January 24, 2022;
- The School Board is required to permit students to attend Loudoun County Public Schools without wearing a facial mask if their parents decide that they should not wear one;
- The School Board is required to provide in-person educational instruction to students in Loudoun County Public Schools without regard to their compliance with the Universal Mask Mandate; and
- The School Board is enjoined from denying students in-person educational instruction in Loudoun County Public Schools on the basis of their parents’ decision that they should not wear a facial mask while in attendance.
- This Order will expire after this Court has entered an order following a full hearing on Plaintiffs’ Complaint and request for permanent injunctive relief.
- Defendant’s Motion to Stay is denied for the reasons stated on the record by the Court.
Following the hearing, LCSD Superintendent Scott Ziegler wrote a letter to students, staff and parents explaining that students may continue wearing masks but will not be required to do so starting on Thursday, February 17.
“Today is a great day for Virginia’s parents and kids,” Gov. Youngkin said in a prepared statement reacting to the injunction. “Not only did we pass a bipartisan bill empowering parents to opt out of school mask mandates, but also the Loudoun Circuit Court reaffirmed parents’ rights to have a say in their child’s health, education, care, and wellbeing.”
The case for masks has always been weakest for children, who the science suggests are the least susceptible to COVID-19. Conversely, issues of impaired breathing and problems with psychological development caused by mask-wearing have resulted in real concern for parents.
Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, recently called for an end to mask mandates in schools. Noting the problems that mask-wearing causes children, he says:
“Taking off the mask represents both a symbolic and scientific step in the right direction. It’s time to reclaim what has been wrestled from us. It’s between God and parents – not government – regarding how we are to raise and manage the health of our children. There are times when government has a right to institute public health positions on a state or national level, but that is not the case here as scientific evidence does not support the current policies regarding our kids.”
Photo from Shutterstock.