RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia parents have mixed feelings about a new law signed Wednesday allowing them to opt out of school mask mandates.
Some school districts like Richmond and Henrico voted to ignore Governor Youngkin’s executive order giving parents the option on masks, while other districts like Hanover stood by the order.
After the bill was signed into law Wednesday, some parents are wondering if this step ends the fight over masks in schools.
“This is another step toward normalcy for our children,” said Henrico mom Tiffany Sweetser, who’s son is a senior at Deep Run High School. She said her son hasn’t been masking up in school since Youngkin’s executive order on face coverings at the end of January took effect, and “there’s been a lot of issues with that. So to know he will be in school without a mask, and be able to you know focus on his education, is a relief.”
Her family went to the capitol to watch the bill be signed into law Wednesday.
“My son and his friends have followed this closely since the executive order was issued, and to see it become a law, rather than an executive order, is an important step for them,” Sweetser said.
Meanwhile, Hanover mom and former teacher Rachel Levy said the state is not yet ready for this and worries that COVID cases will increase.
“If we had gotten further than we are right now and didn’t have Omicron and potentially other variants barreling down, then it would be different,” Levy said. “People feel let down, and they feel afraid, and they feel upset.”
Levy said at-risk populations are being let down. “Trying to teach our kids to take care of their friends and neighbors who are more vulnerable is going out the window.”
School divisions don’t have to comply with the law until March 1. On Wednesday night, Henrico County Public Schools announced its schools will comply with the new law, starting the next school day. Federal law still requires masks on school buses.