HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- In a unanimous decision at a meeting on Monday night, the Hanover County School Board sided with Governor Glenn Youngkin's executive order, giving parents the choice to send their children to school without a mask. The Hanover School Board's decision won't go into effect until January 31. That will give school administrators time to outline new protocols and give teachers and families time to adjust.
At this time, public opinion on masking remains mixed.
The decision came after passionate and even contentious public comments from parents, teachers, and a few students.
"When I stepped into school on Tuesday, I saw nothing but divisiveness. Teachers were scared, kids are refusing to put their masks on, students by the dozens were coming to ask me what was going to happen," one Patrick Henry High School student said.
"The science is clear. Wearing masks, while not 100% effective, does significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19," Patrick Wells, a parent, said.
"None of this is a surprise to anyone who has ever been trained in chemical or biological warfare as they can tell you a piece of cloth isn't going to stop a damn thing," Mark Hill, another parent, said.
"If my daughter is reprimanded or just a teacher doesn't help her for not wearing a mask, I will seek the highest council and I will sue you," another parent said.
Hanover School Board members said they hoped that they will receive more clarity as legal challenges to Youngkin's executive order are expected to be addressed in court.
The board was also advised that a federal order from the CDC dictates that students are still required to wear masks while on school buses.
Students in Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond were still required to wear masks in schools at this time.
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