Henrico schools no longer allowing maskless students in class

Henrico County Schools
Henrico County Schools(Henrico County Public Schools)
Published: Feb. 5, 2022 at 7:11 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico County Public Schools says it will no longer allow maskless students in the classroom following a ruling made by an Arlington County judge on Friday that temporarily stopped Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order.

The judge granted the temporary order in favor of seven school boards, including Richmond Public Schools, that wanted Gov. Youngkin’s order blocked.

In a message sent out to parents Friday evening, HCPS says its recent accommodations made in place of mask use based on parent choice will end immediately.

Despite the school board’s decision to keep the universal mask mandate in place, last week the school division made accommodations for students who attended schools without a mask.

Some Henrico parents are praising the school division’s actions for sending out a clear message.

“The message was very straightforward and said we will continue with masks,” Abbey Grobe, a Henrico parent said. “There will be no wiggle room so it was a big relief, I had a little bit of heart jump there when I got the first phone call.”

Henrico parents like Shannon Dillion, who sided with the governor’s executive order, feel Friday’s message is just leaving families with even more questions.

“Nobody is happy about it and now there is a lot of questions,” Dillon said. “Because based on what the email said they’re trying to imply that somehow this opinion which applies to only seven school districts, not ours that somehow this is going to start impacting other school districts.”

In the email, HCPS says the Arlington County court concluded that the governor cannot override the decision of local school boards via executive power. The school division goes on to say that means school boards maintain the authority to wear masks.

Henrico schools say students are now expected to adhere to the universal masking requirement and anyone who refuses to wear a mask will face disciplinary action.

The school division says it will stick strictly to its universal masking policy except when students are outdoors, during mealtime or during athletic activities.

In regards to the lawsuit, a spokesperson from Gov. Youngkin provided this statement:

“The governor will never stop fighting for parents’ ability to choose what is best for their children, “Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter stated. “The governor often said that this is not a pro-mask or anti-mask debate. It’s about parents knowing what’s best for their child’s health and opting out should there be a mask mandate. More voices, including from the scientific and medical community, call into question the efficacy behind a universal mask mandate for children. This is about what’s best for their kid’s health and who can best make that decision. We are going to appeal, this is just the first step in the judicial process.”

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

Send it to 12 here.

Want NBC12’s top stories in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.