PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Local school districts are discussing the impacts of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s new executive order that will end the mask mandate in schools starting next week.
Many parents and teachers are expected to show up to these meetings as Youngkin has asked school districts to “listen to parents and get prepared” this week.
Virginia Beach called a special school board meeting for Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
A notice of the meeting states that legal counsel will brief the board on the implication and action by the school board will be taken as determined necessary.
Board members will meet with legal counsel in a closed session.
The meeting is open to the public but seating will be limited. It’s first-come, first-served and masks will be required. It will also be live-streamed.
Several other school boards have also put the matter on their agendas. Portsmouth plans to discuss the division’s options at its meeting on Thursday. A Hampton Schools spokesperson says the matter wasn’t on the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting. They were awaiting further guidance from the Virginia Department of Education and other governmental entities, and COVID protocols would be updated no later than Friday, January 21.
Newport News and Mathews County school boards were also expected to discuss the matter Tuesday night. Newport News did not make any official decisions, but said they’d issue further guidance later this week.
There was no specific agenda item listed on the Williamsburg-James City County School Board agenda for Tuesday night, but a spokesperson told WAVY “there will be opportunities where masks may be discussed.”
Hampton and Norfolk school boards are scheduled to meet Wednesday, but their agendas do not include the topic of masks.
The Chesapeake School Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Monday. On Tuesday night, Chesapeake Public Schools announced it would hold a special school board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 20. It will be held at 5 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the School Administration Building, 312 Cedar Road.
The meeting will allow the school board to “review current COVID-19 data, discuss Governor Youngkin’s recent Executive Orders, and to take action, if any, in response to recent developments,” according to a special meeting notice.
On Tuesday, Poquoson’s School Board voted to make masks optional starting Monday, January 24 for all students, staff and guests. It passed 4-1, with two members abstaining.
Isle of Wight County Schools will have a special called school board meeting on Thursday, January 20, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium of Westside Elementary School to discuss the Governor’s Executive Order. Those attending that meeting will be required to wear masks.
Williamsburg-James City County Schools is holding a special meeting on Thursday, January 20, to discusses Youngkin’s executive order. Closed session begins at 12:15 p.m. and open session begins at 12:30 p.m. Public comment will not be held, but the public is encouraged to watch the livestream of the meeting.