CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Update 1/20/2022: The Chesterfield County School Board voted to keep its universal mask mandate, pending guidance from the Virginia Department of Education.
The Chesterfield County School Board announced Wednesday that they would be holding a special meeting to “take action” on school masking policy following a new executive order from Governor Glenn Youngkin.
The meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the public meeting room at 10001 Iron Bridge Road.
Attendees will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, with seating limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. The meeting will also be broadcast live online.
The Chesterfield Education Association called on the board to “take immediate action to reaffirm the county’s commitment to requiring indoor mask wearing at all schools and facilities.”
In a written comment to the board, the CEA wrote that without a mask mandate in-person learning might prove impossible, pointing to ongoing staffing shortages and large numbers of staff out sick this month.
CEA President Christine Melendez noted her disappointment with the board over their decision to “host a meeting about a topic that affects their employees at a time during the day that employees are unable to attend.”
The meeting is being held in response to an order from Governor Glenn Youngkin aimed at ending a statewide mask mandate in public schools and preventing local school boards from enforcing their own mandates.
Democrats have claimed that this order conflicts with a state law passed last year and that any school division that doesn’t maintain its mask policy will be in violation of that law.
Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears said the administration might withhold funding from schools that don’t withdraw their mask policies in an appearance on Fox News.