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Virginia Supreme Court to take up school mask debate this week

Lawmakers seek to codify EO. 2 into state law
Virginia’s Attorney General says the Virginia Supreme Court will take up the school mask debate...
Virginia’s Attorney General says the Virginia Supreme Court will take up the school mask debate early next week.(Cliff Owen | AP)
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 4:21 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:33 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia’s Attorney General says the Virginia Supreme Court will take up the school mask debate early this week.

“This is about parental empowerment. Parents making the best choice for their child,” said Jason Miyares, (R) Virginia Attorney General.

Miyares says he’s ready to fight it out in court to make wearing a mask optional in schools.

“This does not take away anyone’s right to wear a mask to school. You want your child to wear a mask at school - that’s great. But respect the fact that there may be people who think differently than you,” said Miyares.

On Monday, an order from the governor says masks are optional in schools.

State Democrats say it’s illegal because of a law passed in 2021 requiring schools to follow CDC guidance, which currently recommends universal mask-wearing in schools.

“His order is wreaking chaos on families all across Virginia, from southwest Virginia to the eastern shore,” said Susan Swecker, Democratic Party of Virginia.

However, Republicans say another state law from 2013 says a parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning their child, takes precedent.

“If there’s a school district that decides to defy the code of Virginia, there’s going to be litigation involved, and they’re going to hear from our office,” said Miyares.

This debate is playing out because a group of parents from Chesapeake is suing the governor to keep masks mandatory. They are asking the court to declare the governor’s order “void and unenforceable.”

Miyares has filed a motion with the state supreme court to dismiss the suit. Democrats will keep fighting back.

“We’re focused on trying to figure out what he wants because it’s not clear, and it’s clearly unlawful the way that he wants to do it,” said Del. Lamont Bagby, (D) 74th District

The attorney general says there is another fix. Lawmakers in the General Assembly are working on a bill to codify executive order two into law.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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