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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed legislation ending mask mandates in the state’s public schools and allowing parents to opt out of having their children wear them.
The law prevents school districts from tailoring policies using infection and hospitalization data from a particular area and prevents school boards from enacting policies that Youngkin’s critics say might be safer for their community.
“Today we are giving power back to parents,” Youngkin said.
The use of masks in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked passion and controversy in the state.
The law also bans online learning options, prevents schools from enacting hybrid systems and requires schools to be open for in-person learning five days a week.
Youngkin’s signing comes as school board meetings have increasingly become political battlegrounds over COVID mandates and as a growing number of Democratic-controlled states have let mask mandates expire for interiors this month, including California, New York, Delaware and Nevada.
Despite the determination, some parents have argued that masks impede their children’s development, while others claim that a children’s room without masks will facilitate the spread of viruses among children, their family, and possibly the community.
It is worth mentioning that the legislature had already approved on Monday the project that makes the use of masks optional in educational establishments, even if the school boards require them. However, that legislation would not go into effect until July 1.
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