CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — To mask or not to mask? That’s the question several school boards are tasked with answering this week.
Monday night, Amelia County school board members approved a motion for universal mask wearing. School board members said even though they personally don’t like the law, not putting a universal rule in place could put the district at legal and financial risk.
Many parents in attendance spoke against a mask mandate.
“Let’s be real. None of this is practical,” one parent said during the meeting’s public comment period. “Our kids aren’t pawns. They don’t deserve what is happening to them. They don’t deserve to have the last two years completely messed up. This should be the least of their worries. They should be able to be kids. They should be able to cut up like we were when we were kids.”
In Caroline County, school board members met Monday and voted 4-2 to require universal mask wearing for all PK-12 students, staff and visitors inside school buildings. That requirement takes effect on August 10.
Chesterfield school board leaders are expected to vote on a mask policy Tuesday and discuss COVID-19 mitigation strategies for the upcoming school year.
In an update posted to the school’s website last month, school leaders say they “will continue to review the federal, state and local (Chesterfield County Risk Management) guidance in anticipation of their next board meeting on August 10, 2021.”
Dinwiddie school leaders are also expected to vote Tuesday on a mask policy.
Last week, Governor Northam shifted health guidance for PreK-12 schools to align with CDC guidance, recommending all students and staff mask up, regardless of vaccination status.
Northam has said a new law passed by the General Assembly effectively makes universal mask-wearing in schools a requirement.
Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, who sponsored the bill Northam is referring to, said the governor is misjudging the intent of the law and localities should still have the final say.
Chesterfield’s school board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the County Public Meeting Room on Iron Bridge Road. Comments can be submitted here. Citizens wishing to address the board in-person must contact the Clerk’s office no later than 2 p.m. on August 10.