PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — School officials in Portsmouth have decided to keep a mask mandate in place for staff and students, despite a recent executive order from the new Virginia governor allowing school divisions to make face coverings optional.

On Thursday night, the Portsmouth School Board received legal advice as well as guidance from the local health department on COVID-19 mitigation measures.

After discussion, the school board voted to affirm Virginia Senate Bill 1303, which requires schools to follow mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vote means there is no change in Portsmouth Public Schools’ mask requirements; all students, staff and visitors will still need to wear face coverings on school property. The division sent a message to families Thursday night informing them of the update.

This week, school boards across Virginia have discussed whether to lift their respective mask mandates or keep them in place.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin immediately signed multiple executive orders after his inauguration on Saturday. One ends the statewide COVID-19 mask mandate in K-12 schools beginning Jan. 24 and makes face coverings optional.

The order says “parents of any child enrolled in an elementary or secondary school or a school-based early childcare and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.” It also says parents won’t be required to provide a reason for their choice.

Some school divisions, such as Poquoson and Chesapeake schools, decided to make masks optional starting Jan. 24. Others, including Norfolk, Accomack, Isle of Wight, Northampton County and others, will continue requiring masks.