Greenbrier Christian Academy will lift mask mandate after Thanksgiving


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake plans to lift the school’s mask mandate after Thanksgiving, which would be defying state law.

Dr. Ron White, the school superintendent, made the announcement on YouTube Monday.

In the announcement, White said it had been five weeks since the private Christian school had its “last COVID contact with any student or any parent, or anybody affiliated with the school.”

This is a positive change from the start of the school year, which was delayed a week because several staff members had coronavirus.

Greenbrier Christian Academy teaches students in preschool and K-12. It’s located at 311 Kempsville Road.

As of Monday morning, White said he had checked and there were no students or parents being tested for COVID-19 at that time.

Therefore, the superintendent said he would lift the mask mandate after Thanksgiving. Students who return from the break the following Monday won’t need to wear a mask unless their families want them to.

Families who want their students to still wear masks should notify the school so they can enforce the masks for those students.

“Hopefully this is going to give a little bit of relief as we go into the Christmas season,” he said.

If cases pick back up after the holidays, White said the mandate will be put back into place.

He noted that he’s aware not all parents will not agree with this decision. “I think some of you will be thrilled with this and there are probably some of you that you won’t be as thrilled, but I’m making this decision based on what we’ve seen from the science that we’re studying and from the results of the students and parents,” said Dr. White.

The suspension of the mask requirement after the long holiday is a hot topic on social media. Shernita Gibbs, a parent not affiliated with the school, is critical of the school’s decision. “I was really shocked because the COVID is still out there and I don’t think it’s safe for kids to be in a school with no mask on and not to mention it’s the holidays; you know, so you have everyone, family members, and they are around a lot of different people,” said Gibbs.

One academy parent who spoke to 10 On Your Side agrees with the school’s decision, saying he believes the school community will remain safe once masks become optional. 

The current statewide public health order requires the wearing of masks indoors for anyone 2 and older in all private and public PreK-12 school settings. 10 On Your Side reached out to the school to ask why they are making this decision while the statewide order stands.

After repeated calls, 10 On Your Side is still waiting for a response to a request for an interview with the superintendent.  Calls were also placed to the offices of the Governor and the Attorney General.
According to the state code, a violation of the school mask mandate is a class one misdemeanor and there could be other consequences. 

Stay with WAVY for updates.

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