SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — School officials in Suffolk 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.
The system confirmed on Friday that masks will continue to be mandated for all students, staff and visitors. This will apply to school property and SPS-provided transportation.
Officials say the mandate is in line with “the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations regarding universal indoor masking for grades K-12.”
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.