NEW: Governor Northam orders mask mandate to start 2021-22 school year in Virginia
Governor Northam has issued a Public Health Emergency Order requiring masks for children in grades K-12 for the upcoming start of the fall semester that commences this month.
Northam cited legislation passed by the General Assembly to enact CDC guidelines which call for Virginia school systems to adhere to COVID mitigation steps.
The governor also said there are still a few public school districts that do not plan to implement a mask mandate and Thursday’s statement was to clarify the state’s seriousness to the order.
Northam’s statement: “SB 1303 was passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. This isn’t about politics—students learn best when they are in the classroom, and masks help to protect everyone, especially kids who aren’t yet vaccinated. This law will help to keep schools open and ensure the safety of staff, teachers, and students. While the vast majority of school divisions have complied with the law, it’s clear there are a few that need additional clarification. We plan to provide that shortly, and fully expect all school districts will do the right thing.”