Chesapeake School Board votes to remove mask, vaccine requirements for students

Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The Chesapeake School Board voted 5-3 on Monday night to remove the district’s requirements for masks, COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for students starting next year.

The changes will go into effect on Jan. 3, before Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin is sworn into office. Youngkin has said he’ll rescind a current state public health order requiring masks at all public and private K-12 schools, but Chesapeake would be in violation of the order until that time.

Masks will be optional for Chesapeake students, but they will still need to wear them on school buses due to the federal mandate for public transportation. Chesapeake athletes have had to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, but would no longer under the new rules.

Staff will still be required to wear masks in the meantime, due to a separate Virginia state labor department workplace safety order.

School board attorney Robert Barry advised the board against making masks optional for staff due to that order, saying the district could be fined around $14,000 per violation.

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