RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) —The Richmond Public Schools School Board convened in an emergency meeting Sunday to hold a vote over whether they will take legal action against Gov. Glenn Youngkin and his executive order.

The emergency meeting announcement came after two graphics titled “Stand Up for Our Schools” widely circulated on social media through the day Sunday.

The graphics list out eight demands made by a group of RPS teachers:

  • Equitable access to K95 masks
  • Virtual/Half day on Wednesdays
  • Guardian choice of virtual instruction
  • Equitable sub/coverage compensation
  • Teacher autonomy for responsive pacing
  • Staff retention and morale
  • Student mental health supports
  • Explicit metrics for school closure

The meeting began at 3 p.m. After roll-call, the school board went into a closed session around 3:30 p.m. to speak with legal council on an executive order.

The school board voted 5-3 in favor of legal action, meaning RPS will either take legal action against the governor themselves or join in a lawsuit filed by Chesapeake City Public Schools.

In a COVID-19 response press conference with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney last week, RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras said that they will be maintaining a 100% mask mandate at Richmond Public Schools for students, staff and visitors. The superintendent cited a Senate Bill and the CDC for the guidelines they are following, “to the maximum extent practicable.”

The COVID response press conference update came just days after newly-elected Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin completed one of his first acts as governor by signing an executive order allowing parents to opt their child out of school mask mandates.

The order is set to go into effect at midnight Monday.

The Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Education have released new guidelines based on that order.

On the national level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend universal mask use by all students, staff, teachers and visitors in schools. The CDC states that masks, including cloth masks, help to block droplets from spreading and filter droplets for the mask wearer.

On Friday January 21, a Page County Schools mother was charged for her comments to a local school board weighing whether to align its mask-wearing policy with a new executive order by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Amelia Ruffner King can be heard in a video of the meeting saying, “I will bring every single gun loaded and ready.”

King later apologized to the board, saying she wasn’t referring to actual firearms.

The school board meeting took place at MLK Middle School, 1000 Mosby Street in Richmond. No public comments were planned to be accepted at the meeting, masks were required.